For the last six months, my family and I have been experiencing what I can only describe as dealing with a death in the family – except the person didn’t die.
My husband has a daughter from a previous relationship. After her mother passed away she came to live with us full-time for the last six years.
Then, one day, six months ago, out of the blue and with no warning she simply packed up all of her things while we were out and left. We came home to an empty room and lots of questions.
All of our attempts at reconnection have gone unanswered and each day that passes has been slightly easier, but also even more confusing.
For the first few days, we were all stunned. Like, what could we have possibly done to warrant being cut out of her life? After a while, I realized that we didn’t do anything, nothing we did or didn’t do warranted this.
But that hasn’t been easy to explain to my two little boys, her brothers. All of their attempts to reach out to her have gone unanswered – and so they stopped trying. My oldest is the most hurt. He was very close to her and believes that she hates him. He keeps asking what he did wrong, why she hates us so much and why she just won’t come home. It breaks my heart.
I keep trying to explain to him that this is not his fault and that she is going through some things that she has to work out on her own. But how much of that makes sense to a seven-year-old?
Family pictures without her. Family vacation without her. Holidays all without her.
We are living in this weird quasi world where we had a death in the family but we didn’t. We had a trauma? We had a rupture? Something happened where our lives will never be the same again.
It’s like she died. But she didn’t die. She’s alive – living and breathing but there is a good chance we will never see or hear from her again. And there is an even bigger chance that we will never actually know what caused this sudden change in her.
She chose to completely cut us out.
We are all going through the stages of grief for death, denial, pain, guilt, anger…we are all trying to work through the mess that she left.