I’m back from my trip interstate to attend my brothers wedding and it was good to see everyone. I don’t see my family very often so, when I do, it is always a bit of a shock to see how much of who I am is typical of my family.
Here is a picture of me with my new haircut, new shoes and bag, old but never worn outfit and a doctored background. I didn’t like the ragged look of the hedge or the garden hose so I tried my hand at fixing them and I’m pretty pleased with the result. I almost had a go at fixing all the things I didn’t like about me too but decided that would be dishonest hehehe.
I’ve lost about 14 kilos but I still need to lose another 20 so I am hoping this can be a “before” photo and some day I will be able to add an “after” photo. I just hope I won’t be in a wheelchair and thin because I have lost all my teeth and am too old to eat any more!
I really didn’t want to go to the wedding. I didn’t have the money to give a decent wedding gift, I hate having my photo taken and I knew there would be a lot of that happening, I couldn’t bear the idea of 10 hours driving to get there or having to stay in another persons house and so on.
Lucky for me my children have been raised better. They wouldn’t accept my excuses so I knew they weren’t good enough reasons not to go. I’m very glad, now, that I did go!
I constantly underestimate how important I am to my family. I was positive my brother wouldn’t care if I didn’t go to his wedding but my children convinced me that was not the point. As his sister I should be there they said and they were right.
My brother was really feeling the loss of his father, mother and other sister on his wedding day. His father is dead, our mother is in a nursing home with dementia and our other sister died 14 years ago. My brothers father has a couple of children from his first marriage but I don’t think they approved of their father having a child to another woman so I don’t think he has ever had much to do with them.
When the photographer set up the parental shot the bride’s mother and father stood beside her and my brother stood alone. That was when I realised my kids were right. Sometimes just being there is important.
Nobody should stand alone on their wedding day. The symbolism of that image struck me hard and I am not the most sensitive of people at times. I couldn’t let it happen. I couldn’t let the camera record the day as if my youngest brother is alone in this world!
My mothers brother was there and he told me I am the spitting image of my mother so I volunteered to take her place in the photo and he took the place of the grooms father.
It was the first time I have missed my mother as she used to be.
Nothing would have kept her from my brothers wedding if she was her old self. She would have participated 100 percent and contributed as much as possible. She would have been there working like a trojan beside the brides parents to set it all up and clean up afterwards.
She would have dressed up and been a mother to be proud of standing beside my brother, smiling and supportive, in the wedding photos.
I’m old enough to have been his mother. He is only 3 months older than my first born child and I raised him for six months of his life when mum went to do some studies. My presence by his side in the photos will look ok but I know he was sad.
Mum couldn’t have come. She can’t hold conversations any more. Her vocabulary has deteriorated so much she gets upset when you try to hold a proper conversation with her. She gets upset easily and the trip would have overwhelmed her as would all the strangers and the strange surroundings. She is also unpredictable and would have to have been watched like one watches a child to ensure she didn’t wander off and get lost. She would also have been confused to see him get married. She thinks he already is married because they have two children. In her mind you must be married if you have children.
It was a lovely wedding. Mum would have been pleased. She would have been particularly pleased to see my other brother wearing a suit, hair cut short, and clean shaven acting as a groomsman! She would have been thrilled to see my other sister, her children, me, my children and my dead sisters daughter all there to support him.
My son was best man and he scrubbed up for the occasion too. I let the side down at the reception though I’m afraid. Mum would have torn strips off me! I changed into my slippers. Not a good look but my shoes were new and I am old so they were crippling me!
The occasion made me realise my family is more a part of me than I thought.
We don’t have much contact. We don’t send birthday cards or see each other much and I always thought I was fairly unimportant to my brothers and sister.
The wedding showed me that isn’t true. We were all so pleased to see each other and I think the truth is we are all tarred with the same brush. We are foundation people. You don’t see much of us normally but we are rock solid. I know if I need them, if I call on them, they will come. They are like me – if I know I’m needed I will respond. My kids convinced me my brother needed me at his wedding so I went.
The problem is that, like me, they don’t have high expectations or think they are worth the effort so they don’t ask much. My brother would have accepted my excuses and not held it against me if I had not turned up. It was my kids who knew, who convinced me, there was no acceptable excuse not to go if going was possible.
Wild horses could not keep either of my children from supporting the other and that’s how families should be.
It’s funny how easy it is to get the wrong idea about people too when you don’t have much contact. In the back of my mind I thought my brother was getting married just to keep his bride happy. I thought he was with her more for their child than anything else. I thought he was being a nice chap to accept her first born as his own but the relationship was really for the sake of his own child.
I was wrong.
I saw his face as they got married. He loves her!
I saw his face when someone assumed he would have stronger feelings for his biological child than for the other too. He was annoyed and angry but it was the kind of anger that comes from being told something that belongs to you is not really yours.
He defended his claim to paternity of the other child and looked as if he wished everyone would forget the biological aspect. From now on I will!
The day was a little sad for me. Not just because the two people who would have loved it the most, mum and my deceased sister, could not be there but because it reminded me of my own wedding.
I was so sure we would keep the vows we made that day and here I am, a divorcee, while he is on his third marriage now.
There is nothing quite as cementing as saying “I do” and nothing as agonizing as breaking that cement and realising the marriage is over. Walking away from those vows tore me into a million tiny pieces and that is a pain I never want to experience again as long as I live.
I’ve never belonged to any man until I gave myself in marriage to one and, when I did that, I expected it to be forever. It still hurts to realise “til death us do part” translates as “til it gets too hard and I can’t be bothered any more” for some people.
I didn’t marry the first man who asked me. I waited until I found one I believed I could spend the rest of my life with and I thought he felt the same. He said he did.
I’d marry again but only if I was certain he had the same beliefs as me – it is forever and you pay whatever it costs to work things out and stick together no matter what.
You become one.
If my leg gives me pain I don’t cut the bloody thing off and toss it away – I go to the doctor, I take medicine, I have an operation, and if all that fails I live with the pain because it’s better than living without my leg!
That’s how much a part of me my husband was but he didn’t see it that way I guess. I was prepared to stay miserably married until the day I died but he wasn’t.
I’m happier without him but I will always miss the feeling of being one with somebody. Without him it feels like I have my back to the wall because there is nobody I can trust there to guard it for me.
My kids are there for me, will always be there for me, but it isn’t the same. I miss being married but I don’t think there are too many people with the same attitude towards marriage as me so I very much doubt I will ever marry again.
For me marriage is as sacred as parenthood. If I give birth to a child it is forever. If I become one with a man it’s the same but I think the popular attitude towards marriage is vastly different these days. For most people marriage seems to be nothing more than a ceremony, a choice, something you do but, if it turns out to have been a mistake, it’s something you can just undo.
Every day on the help lines I hear people who have discovered it is not as easy as that. Every day I hear people who are finding out how painful ending a marriage really can be.
I pray my brother will never be one of them!