Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stressed About Vacation

I had it under control, which is to say nicely suppressed, buried deep enough that I could pretend that I wasn't really stressed at all. So what happened? I called my sister. This isn't ragging on my sister. It just dug up stuff. When we realized a while back that Dad was doing well, i.e. staying sober, we agreed that my family would go directly to the cottages and she would trust Dad to pick her up and get her. It really is easier for us, and it has the added advantage of not antagonizing Dad. It is very stressful for Sis though, and thereby stressful for me.

I called her to ask her to print out the menu and grocery list I emailed her and give it to Dad. It took an hour to get around to that. She started right out telling me that she was getting stressed over packing, that she always gets stressed over packing, in fact usually her husband packs for everyone. See, whenever she packs she feels just like she did as a kid or a teenager packing her suitcase to visit Dad. This time it is much worse since she is actually packing her suitcase to visit Dad.

We talked for an hour. She told me about what she was feeling. We talked. It was good, but it brought all my stress to the surface. I don't know if it made her feel better or worse. I think better. I hope anyway.

My sister has been waking up in the past year. She has spent two decades buried in Christian fundamentalism, refusing to see complexity, making herself feel safe by making her world small. Now she is going back to school, reading Elizabeth Cady Stanton's The Woman's Bible, and asking questions about everything. It is good, but it is also hard. There is a lot coming out.

It makes me realize how slow healing is. My sister and I are in our forties and are still sorting it out. Some things we are just figuring out.


  1. It's brave to leave that small world behind. My coming out caused my mother to start looking at her world and questioning everything. She always believed in treating people politely but as we know sometimes doing the right thing means more than that.

    I'm sorry the trip is bringing up so much stress but it also seems to be a focus for some healing for you and your sister. Probably doesn't make it any easier though.

  2. My dad was an alcoholic (recovering, unless you count the other addictions that took its place) when he died a few years back. The dynamics in such a family are so complex, aren't they? I did therapy years ago, but it was always a work in progress. I'm glad I worked on my stuff related to mine and my dad's relationship; when he died, we were both at peace. Your attitude is wise.


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