The other side of my life is that side which I have eluded to in some of my previous writings here. It is the side where people bear thirty year old grudges. It is the side where the cruel irony of an early death leaves relationships unfinished. It is the side that is filled with hatred and pain and lies. It is the side of right-fighters. It is the side that I never chose to live in, yet there I was, and sometimes, here I still am.
My brother chose a different kind of life and a different kind of wife. He created a different kind of life. He allowed the muck of growing up in a very chaotic household to color his life with different hues. Whereas I saw bright, he saw dull. Whereas I saw a chance to escape the kind of life that made me ill, he saw reason to continue the ugliness of how we were raised. He remained stuck in the web. He was a good guy in many ways, but that didn't prevent him from leaving behind an absolute mess. A mess that my nieces must now live in. A mess that I am now trying to sort out. A mess that I know he would be absolutely disgusted to discover, yet still a mess that he had some responsibility in creating.
I have spent the better part of the past week in emotional and spiritual pain. I have been containing my own feelings about my SIL's actions towards me and my family in an attempt to reserve any small chance that I will be allowed to continue a relationship with my two nieces while they are still children. I have been told to be patient. I have been told to wait. I have been told, I have been told... And then the letter came. A letter filled with hatred that spewed off of the paper like a soda can that had been shaken before it was opened. And my soul cracked open as did my mouth. I am finished waiting. I am finished being patient. I am finished allowing my brother's memory to be ground into the dirt like some useless piece of trash.
When I took the picture of the garden spider above, I was watching it build it's web with awe and admiration. In so many ways, just looking at the spider repels me and makes me want to run screaming in the other direction. But in other ways, I can see the absolute beauty of it's intricate web. I can see how the spider moves with such purposefulness and even grace as it spins the threads which will contain it's home for the night. Some might just see a very scary spider. I can see Charlotte.
And so, as I sit here pondering all this and trying to make some sense out of it I realize that every life must have two sides. And what makes the beautiful side so much more vibrant is the fact that we must also live with the other side. The side that hurts our spirits. The side that causes us pain. The side which we never chose, but if we remain brave enough, we learn to live with.
May you always honor the beautiful side of life even while sometimes having to face the darkness. May you fight for what is good because you are worth it.