Broken

I spent the day going through old photos. Scanning them so that I can preserve them forever. I have this weird fear that my house is going to catch fire and all my pictures, scrapbooks, photo albums will be destroyed. When we had fire drills when the kids still lived at home, part of my plan was how on earth to get the photos out and still save the children. Don’t worry. If it came down to saving a child or a scrapbook, I would have saved the child. Probably.

The pictures I was looking through brought back flood upon flood of memories. To see my children as babies again after not having looked at those pictures for years, tugged a little bit at my heart strings. Such a long time ago. I see the smiles on their faces and am so grateful that my angst during that time did not rob them of happiness. So bittersweet to look at. I see me smiling and laughing with my kids and that is somehow overshadowed by the memories of a really difficult marriage. And it makes me angry that the brokenness of my first marriage clouds the happy times that I shared with my children during those outings. But it also brings me great relief to see smiles on the kids’ faces and know that no matter what, I did my best to give them a happy childhood. I always hope I did enough, but often worry that I didn’t.

Seeing pictures of family get togethers with my siblings and their children, and the laughter and happiness of time spent with them when my kids were younger – it stings. And tears begin to fall as I see the absolute joy in being together back then, yet knowing that those family ties have forever been broken, memories tarnished, by the thoughtless actions of one brother. Knowing that my family as I knew it back then has ceased to exist is almost unbearable.

It’s been months since I’ve written of, or spoken about my brother. It has not been months since I’ve thought about him. Every day I think that I need to write him a letter. Tell him that even though I’m still so angry at him that I still love him. Tell him that it makes me angry that I still love him. Tell him that he doesn’t deserve my love. He doesn’t deserve my tears. And yet, here I am, reduced to tears at the mere sight of old family photos.

What should have been a fun day scanning old photos has left me feeling broken all over again. And it doesn’t hurt any less today than it did two years ago when he was first arrested. Time heals all wounds, they say. How much time? I wish I could just give up on him. But I don’t think that would heal me.

Just. Broken.

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