I can hear my sister-in-law crying through the thin walls of my parents house. She will attend her 36-year-old brothers funeral tomorrow. All I can think is that I cannot fathom losing my own brother and the devastation and grief that must be occurring is, at best, intense and overwhelming. At worst, crushing devastation–the weight of a thousand bricks.
Pictured above is my brother and I, doing what we did best: letting our wild imaginations run rampant in the arms of Mother Nature. The picture practically sums up our relationship: playing, me leading, in the trees.
I was a bossy sibling. I was (am?) every stereotypical characteristic of a first-born. But a kind and caring one, the sort of sibling you know for sure would always have your back.
I am still that furiously loyal, ferociously loving, and forever caring sibling. To my brother, the siblings I received via marriage, and a tiny handful of friends whose bonds are so strong the only term that seems appropriate is sister.
Hearing my sister-in-law cry uncontrollably tears at my heart. I can feel her sorrow in my body and in that moment I realize that feeling is the same feeling I have for myself.
How can my love for others be magnificently durable, unquestionably loyal, and truly unconditional, but not for myself?
It’s not that self-love doesn’t exist within me. It does. It’s that my eating disorder holds my true self, and all of that self respect and self love, hostage.
Today I will provide myself the grace I deserve to move on. When I’m being held hostage, it’s not me. I am working hard to break free–and when the struggle is overwhelming and seems impossible, I will remind myself of the love I give to my siblings and allow grace to be what I stand on until I can stand on my own heart.