A letter to … my brother on the other side of the world
The letter you always wanted to write
We got on when we were young. Yes, we fought like any siblings, but you must have known that you were my role model. You are the reason I played football, you were the one to introduce me to canoeing. I even got my eyebrow pierced just to prove to you I could.
Yet now that we find ourselves as adults and on opposite sides of the world, it is not just geographical miles that have grown between us – it’s a lack of understanding, too.
I was the one who drove our parents to the other end of Britain when you became a father and their first grandchild was born. I was the one who took our aunt on the long-haul flight to New Zealand after you moved there, so that our family could be together on your wedding day. Now I think of it, it is me who instigates everything. I have now seen you on the other side of the world three times – you emigrated there only three years ago.
I get it. You have responsibilities. I understand that you have a family of your own now. But we are also family. The one on the other side of the world. The one trying in vain to maintain contact.
I try to accept your lifestyle choices, although alien to me, to understand that you prefer to shun rather than embrace technology. However, there are consequences. I am saddened that I do not have a relationship with my nephew. I buy gifts when I do not know if they are suitable. I do not know what size clothes he wears, or what his favourite toys are. I still buy things periodically and send letters in the hope of acknowledgment, if not a reply. Until now no text, email, Skype message or letter has arrived, yet I know my packages to your family have been received through our parents.
I fear that without communication we have no relationship. I fear that the distance will become too overwhelming and the gap too large to cross. What do we know of each other’s lives? I hear about you through our parents, as I am sure you hear about me. I do not want to find out what will happen when there are just the two of us, as is inevitable one day. When I have to call you to tell you the news … how will we communicate then?
I do not think I ask too much when I say, let me be a sister. Let me be an auntie. Let us accept the challenges of communicating over time zones and geographical distance. Let us rise to the challenge of finding our own way to communicate. But let’s do this sooner rather than later.
Your loving wee sister, Fiona