Family Tsunami

images-2.jpegThis post is probably one of the most personal I have ever written. I have lost hours of sleep over it since I got the news 10 days ago. It concerns my family, one of my brothers to be precise. I suppose I should mention that I am the eldest of four siblings but now only have two brothers; the oldest died in a car accident four years ago.

My sister-in-law had a happy childhood, or so it seemed from her girlhood stories. Sadly, her teenage and adult years have been much harder. Her mother died in a car crash when she was 15 and her father (who was a one woman’s man) stopped to take care of himself and died about 7 years later. He was the driver of the car and although he was cleared during the enquiry, I suppose he was eaten by guilt.

She soon married my brother; they had known each other since they were 17. She got pregnant two or three years later but miscarried after a few months. Her life seems to have stopped since.

She slowly ceased to attend family reunions and dinner parties. She no longer went shopping or cooked. She started getting up later and later. Of course, all this was a slow and gradual process. It might have been easier to deal with if it had been sudden.

Being quite secretive, and also guilt-ridden, my brother kept quiet about it. He always provided excuses for his wife and said she was ok. We still saw her from time to time, but ony if we visited.

5 years ago, she felt vey poorly and went to hospital for all sorts of check-ups. We all flocked there to express sympathy and support and before she left the clinic, she phoned explaining that the main problem was latent depression and that she would go to a psychiatrist to deal with the painful events of her life. Nevertheless she never consulted, not even once. However hard we tried to hint that it was necessary for her to get some help, she always had a ready answer.

A few months ago, she had to go to hospital again and almost died during a biopsy. At that point, my brother confided that she was drinking and that’s why she had been so close to death during the anaesthesia. Unfortunately when she got back home, and despite my brother’s repeated pleas, she did not alter anything in her daily routine and still addamantly refused to receive psychological help.

As might have been foreseen, my brother met someone else and is planning to leave home and settle with her. My parents are devastated. I believe they wish they had been more intrusive. They must also feel torn between a son and a daughter-in-law they love and see as vulnerable. As a very close and loving couple, I suppose they believe my brother should have remained faithful to his wife, although they tell me they understand him on this point.

As for me, I am at a loss what to think. I feel overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. I reckon I have spent hours discussing the issue at home, pondering over it at night and still haven’t come to terms with it.