Monday, 19 October 2009

An only child and her siblings

When I was a child I had older siblings. I had been a bridesmaid at my big sister’s wedding and looked forward to being a bridesmaid at my brothers. However I was not invited to any of their weddings as either bridesmaid or guest. I was all but written out of their family history. Once, when I visited their mother as I often did as an adult, it suddenly struck me that she had pictures of her children, grandchildren and great grand children scattered around the house and even photos of her pets, but not one of me despite the fact I had lived there from the age of 6 weeks until the age of 11. I was even at their father’s bedside as he lay dying. One by one we crept out of the hospital side ward and begged a doctor to give him yet more painkillers. Finally, as if to signal his desire to sever all further communication with the living, he switched off his hearing aid, removed his glasses and breathed his last. I stayed with his widow for the funeral and helped prepare and clean the family home. After the funeral my eldest brother thanked me for all I had done, which he felt was particularly kind “as I was not even a member of the family.”

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