It was hard for my brother, growing up with four sisters.
He was constantly outnumbered, never got a bathroom when he needed one, and was trapped in a home that had become a sort of train station for relationships.
If someone’s new boyfriend came into the fold, another’s would be leaving it, after a break-up. After a time, he told us how tired he was of losing all the men in his life.
He was more than sad or angry. He said no one should have to get used to losing a brother, time and time again. I heard his words, but didn’t get it emotionally. If a boyfriend and I broke up I felt it was my issue. My broken heart. My cruel deed. Just … mine.
Of course, all these years later, I understand his pain and helplessness. I see how we become so absorbed in our own issues that we forget the effect our relationships and decisions have on those closest to us. We see the details as ours, which they of course are. But in the process of including someone in our lives, they become part of the fabric of the lives around us.
It’s particularly poignant at a time my children are experiencing their own loves, and losses. A time where I have to stand back and let go, and, at times, say goodbye to people I really care about, who are part of my daily routine.
There’s gratitude that comes with that kind of loss, as a wise friend reminded me recently, that I hope someday to be able to express. Like, thank you for being there, at the right time, for my child. For being a part of the family. For being you.
But for now, like my brother did, I’m standing to the side, mourning the losses, and bemoaning this cycle of life where you learn you have no control, and you have to let people go, whether you want to, or not.