Over the years, my family would make friends, and then shut them out. As a result, my childhood photos would contain people I barely remember, for only a certain span of years, before they just stopped showing up in photos.
Of course, people will fade as friends when you move 8 hours away. (Or more, honestly it was closer to 10 hours). But they faded even before then.
I know their names, even without them inscribed on the back of childhood photos. Not the last name, but the first names. I'd seen it before, the last name on one photo, but this is the first time I actually put two and two together...and searched for her. I found my godmother.
Some people, my dad shut out even before we were born. Even his own sisters. Only one is sane, according to him.
Unless that's changed.
Because, I too, was shut out years ago, becoming yet another person in photos, another person fading away in my young siblings' memories as they grew. I know very little of what happened since 2009.
I know my brother married and had two sons, because he reached out a couple of times, attempting to repair what was broken, using religious rhetoric and the tactic of "minimize, deny, empathize (change)." He has not changed. Neither has our dad. It is impossible to forgive those who do not believe they have done wrong. Forgiveness, at this point, is only for my benefit--and I am not there yet.
What was broken remained broken.
Relatives. For fear of putting people in the middle, I did not reach out to relatives when I was disowned. I considered them all lost, too. My siblings needed them more than me. Stay with the family, I prayed. One broken thread is worth four little souls.
But what was broken was repaired, balm for my soul, but what was repaired was broken, as they too, were shut out. Relegated to the old photo albums, a few fleeting memories, for my siblings.
What was broken is repaired--I am healing, cracks expanding, contracting with the weather, with the emotional barometer, patched up with psychotropic medications in an odd kind of kintsukuroi, with the dust of Rexulti, at the same price as gold.
What was broken is being repaired--the people who have quietly disappeared, written out from family memory, are online, findable at the hands of a skilled librarian with patchy memories and a few photos for comparison.
The smiles are the same. They are always the same. Compare the smiles. And the eyes, since the eyes smile, too. A tentative email, full of apologies "if you are not the person I'm trying to reach."
Joy. Reconnection. What was broken, is being repaired.
But no amount of reconnecting with relatives and family friends can repair siblingloss.
It was broken.
Maybe, someday, one day, it will be repaired.
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