My parents divorced when I was in my early 20's. It was tough on our family but soon my parents were close friends. They remained close until my father passed away in 2007.
Right before my father found out abut his terminal cancer, he asked my sister and brother and I to join him on a 3-way phone call for something important. On the call, he admitted that Mema and Papa were not our real grandparents.
Papa's sister, my Great-Aunt Rose, was a single mom and took in boarders after WWII. Apparently, one such soldier/boarder impregnated her. I'm not sure if it was rape or consensual... but I do know that he left her alone and frightened. She called up Mema and Papa and said she was thinking of taking her own life.
Mema and Papa, in the meantime, were trying, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant. They agreed to adopt this baby boy from my great-aunt. The baby boy was my dad.
Soon after adopting him, as is wont to happen, they became pregnant with my dad's sister.
Great-Aunt Rose asked my grandmother to hold this secret from my father, which she did, until Rose died. Upon hearing the news, my father was furious at my grandmother. He always felt that his sister was treated better than he was. He also always thought my Great-Aunt Rose's son was treated better than he was. His cousin was now his brother. And his mother was dead. He was pissed.
He brought us in on this secret because he was angry at my grandparents and thought we should know how unfairly he was treated.
Have I ever told you that my dad's family is Sicilian? As in, the people who live by the term "vendetta"? Yeah. True story.
My sister and her husband are in the middle of a nasty divorce. I've kept the full story pretty vague on the blog. The reason for this is, well, it is the most upsetting, stress-filled pain in our family right now.
And then this morning...
My soon-to-be-ex-brother-in-law, whom I adore, was contacted by someone claiming to be my sister's half-sister!
As a family, we are unsure where her story comes from. We're working through it. We also have to be gentle in discussing this with my sister who is already in an extremely volatile place. My mother is distraught.
I'm left wondering, which way is up?
I'm also left wondering, WTF?!
I feel like my family is being challenged in ways beyond it ever has been before. Even beyond my parent's divorce and my father's terminal cancer!
I feel as if up is down and left is right. What I thought I knew, I no longer know!
My family depends on me to hold it together, to be the strong one, to keep my sanity, to tell it like it is. What I'm realizing is that I could slowly be driven insane if I take ownership of any of this.
Watching my sister make, what could possibly be, the biggest mistake of her life so far...
Watching my mother do what she can to be supportive and loving to my sister and her children and yet, breakdown over the stress it is causing in her own life...
Worrying about those kids...
Hearing the stories...
The bitter frustration...
The utter confusion...
What is the truth? Who is right? Will everyone be OK? Is this going to slowly kill my family from the inside out?
We are breaking.
The best thing that I can do is KNOW that it is not in my hands. Though it seems like chaos has stricken my family, I have to have FAITH that everything is working out in a pattern that I do not yet recognize. I do not have a 30,000 foot view of this. I am in it, though I fight like mad not to be.
What I thought I knew, I no longer know. Some One else knows what's going on here. I have to rely on faith that my family will be OK.
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise."
~ Proverbs 12:15
"Remember how many times you thought you knew all the 'facts' you needed for judgment, and how wrong you were! Is there anyone who has not had this experience? Would you know how many times you merely thought you were right, without ever realizing you were wrong? Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision making? Wisdom is not judgment; it is the relinquishment of judgment. Make then but one more judgment. It is this: There is Someone with you Whose judgment is perfect. He does know all the facts; past, present and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgment on everyone and everything involved in any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception."
~ A Course in Miracles