higher ground




As tired as I feel and achey all over, I didn’t want to go to bed without writing the beautiful resolution that came out of the events earlier today with my brother.

Events that actually escalated so that some clarity could come of them.

I phoned John in the afternoon to see how he was doing and touch base.  He told me he’d just gone to the store and bought the ingredients for his famous beef stroganoff.  He invited me to come over for dinner.  I told him I was still feeling quite ill on the couch but maybe he could drop some off later, that we could touch base in a few hours.

I continued napping on the couch all day until I called him up again as I actually was feeling an appetite starting to return and was honestly getting tired of eating soup.

When I asked how his stroganoff was going he told me he was just finishing it “but I didn’t get enough meat.  I only got half a pound so I really don’t have any to share”.  Same story, different dish.  He offered, then reneged.  And I’m sick.

I got off the phone quickly feeling a combination of disappointment and resign.  This is just what happens.

I’d rather not get the offer than go through that kind of dismissal.

And now I had in my mind that I wanted something more substantial to eat so once again headed out in my pajamas to the family operated Mexican drive thru near my house.  Getting more and more upset as I drove home as I didn’t even feel strong enough to be behind a wheel.  And I have family 3 minutes away, doing nothing, yet here I am in my pajamas, again, out running my own errand.

I phoned John up straight from the car and said I needed to talk to him.

I was fighting back tears until I couldn’t anymore telling him how alone and dejected I was feeling being so sick and so alone yet having him so near.  I recounted how he refused to take me to the airport because he didn’t want to get up that early so I drove myself and paid for parking, how he offered orange juice and sherbet and tried to get out of them both before showing up…well you know that story, then tonite offering me dinner then telling me he didn’t buy enough to share so I was on my own.  How all of that adds up to me having to take care of myself while taking care of him.

That we live so close together so we can be there for each other. That I’d never let him have to drive himself to the airport because I didn’t want to get up early (although had the entire day off), that I’d never offer him food when he was sick then tell him there wasn’t enough.

I reminded him how he has been talking about getting a volunteer job in order to feel productive in taking care of others yet we seem to have this one way street going on and how it just breaks my heart, how alone and sad I feel at times, especially today.  By that time, I was bawling and in my carport.

John listened to every word I said and immediately apologized.  He said “there is not one thing you’ve said that’s not true.  I’ve been rude to you and I apologize for everything and want to make it up to you.  I know you’re feeling sick but I didn’t know how down you are.  I want to help you.  I will share my stroganoff with you.  I will come over tonite.  I will spend the night if you don’t want to be alone.  I want to be there for you Kathy because you have taken such good care of me” then listed all the ways I’ve been there for him.

It was pretty much the best response you could imagine from someone in a difficult conversation like that.

I guess I had to hit a breaking point.  I had to reach down and pull him up to a higher place of functioning.  I just kept saying “we have to be there for each other John.  I need you to be here for me too”.  I don’t think he’s had anyone expect that of him for so long, this was perhaps just the invitation he needed.  That maybe he was shocked to receive.

I told him I had enough food for tonite and wanted to go in and sleep (which I did) but I’d like for him to come over tomorrow and help me with some laundry.  Just going up and down stairs the last two days has been exhausting so I could use some help with that.  He was happy to agree to come help me.

He just kept saying “I’m glad you talked to me Kathy.  I want to be a good brother to you and I’m sorry I’ve been selfish and rude.  I don’t mean to be”.  And he doesn’t.  He gets stuck in his patterns and I get stuck in mine.  But this was a real breakthrough for both of us.

Asking him to rise up and support me ignites the higher ground in him and allows me to not have to be exhausting myself lifting myself up there when I really need to be resting and “down” as he said.

All of these events needed to happen to break me down enough to say the things I needed to say and it opened us to a whole new level of communication and bonding.  By the end I was crying because of his sweetness.


So with that, I conclude this chapter, happy and pleased that it all happened to pop us through.

And I think I’m actually starting to feel better.

Good night all.

2 thoughts on “higher ground

  1. Zuri

    I think you illustrated a very good point. Those around us who are used to us being strong and taking care of everything for everybody else, sometimes forget that we have needs too. Whether it be siblings, parents, friends, children or spouses, they all get used to us being a certain way, comfortable with their expectations of us without ever thinking we need to be “fed” too. How many times have we been asked if we needed help, only for us to tell them, no we were fine. When we do need help, and ask, they are somehow too busy or otherwise committed and we feel let down. I learned some time ago not to extend myself so fully for others as I knew, when asked, they would not return the same. I learned to ask my spouse and children for things I needed. What I found, as you did with John, was that they needed to be needed as much as I did. It made them feel important and validated somehow. Exposing my needs or vulnerabilities opened up a whole new dialog. I really hope this continues for you and John. It already seems to have deepened your relationship with your dad. Feel better. Xoxo

  2. Shelley

    I think Zuri is right–our family & friends get used to us being strong and taking care of everything for everybody else & they then forget that we have needs too. I have a younger brother to whom I was always the giver. I never asked him for anything – I was always doing for him & giving to him. Back in 2008 I went through a tough time and I asked him for a simple favor and he did not deliver. It really devastated me. I was hurt and angry and for 6 months we did not speak. I would not take his calls or respond to his emails.
    Finally I healed enough so I could talk with him and express myself. I think we understand one another much better now. I hope you get all well soon.

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