Dear Grace: Sad Sister

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Dear Grace,

I grew up an only child raised by my father and grandparents. All those generations are long gone and I recently learned I have a brother.

We only spent a few weeks together though, and this was not enough for sure, to catch up on so many years of life. I barely got to know him.

He is now serving a 12 year sentence and he has not returned any of my letters, and has passed on that he does not want me to visit. Why would he do that?

I feel very hurt and rejected on this, and I sometimes wish that I had never learned of his existence – why, what for – when it feels like I still do not have a brother?

Thank you for your support,
Sad Sister

 

Dear Sad Sister,

It’s amazing when family finds you. I bet you were thrilled to learn you had a sibling. I know I would be. Cherish those few weeks, no it’s not enough but tomorrow is never promised. I am sure you will be able to reconnect one day.

It sounds like your brother is going through so much. It sounds like the relationship was perhaps too new for him to trust you. Or perhaps he is ashamed? There are so many reasons for the silence and the only person who can answer this is him. Perhaps he’s protecting you. Being in prison is hard, you wonder what’s going on on the outside, you long for your freedom, and you reflect on the things you have done. It’s also not the best place to have a decent conversation to catch up with your family, new or old. Too many prisoners will refuse to have visitors, others will live for their family to come to see them.  I doubt though, he is rejecting you because he doesn’t want you in your life. It sounds like you had a good relationship starting up. One day he can answer this question for you, and I really hope he does.

Don’t feel hurt or rejected, although that is a very reasonable feeling. Try to understand how he must feel,  having found a sister, and suddenly his world ripped apart by whatever circumstances put him there. Imagine if the roles were reversed. How would you be feeling? Would you want a sibling you have only known for a few weeks to be there? You also have to consider something else, and I say this tentatively, perhaps, he is not the person you thought he was. It’s rare for an innocent man to be sent to prison. Perhaps he just can’t hide this side from you any more.

I am sending you lots of love, Sad Sister. I hope you get your answers one day. I am just sorry they couldn’t come from me.

Grace

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