Should I be there for people who HAVEN’T been there for me?

I got an email from a relative, telling me that my aunt, who has cancer, is in very bad shape and is now in a hospice.

I should call my uncle. I really should. Except, I can’t let go of the fact that I haven’t spoken to him in more than a year. In fact, the last time he called me, I happened to be in a hospital–a mental hospital. He wasn’t calling out of concern. He didn’t even know I was in the hospital. He called my cell, and I happened to be a in program that allows patients to keep their cell phones. That’s how he found out I had been suicidal. I don’t remember what I told him. But I do remember his promise to keep in touch with me and check in on me.

I haven’t heard from him–or my aunt–since then. And I’m angry about that. This isn’t the first time they’ve failed me as far as being there for me is concerned. It was the same thing after my first suicide attempt 20 years ago. They knew about my attempt, but never bothered to visit me in the hospital. My uncle did go to one therapy session after I was released, but he couldn’t handle it and never went to another one after that.

And now, I hear that my aunt is dying. And I struggle about what to do. If I don’t call my uncle, it will be out of spite. I probably won’t feel right about that. If I do call him, I will know I’m doing “the right thing.” But I’ll still resent the fact that he isn’t there for me when it comes to my depression and anxiety–and honestly, the rest of my family isn’t much better. A few weeks ago, when I was really confused and hurting, I called my cousin. His response: “I’m in New York on business ’til the end of next week. But when I get back, let’s have lunch and catch up.” That was a few weeks ago. I’m still waiting for that lunch invite. I’m not surprised–and I’m not holding my breath.

And yet, when THEY are in crisis, I’m expected to be there. I thought love was supposed to go TWO ways.


One response to “Should I be there for people who HAVEN’T been there for me?

  • Alan Kravitz

    A postscript: I did call my uncle today. He appreciated it. He said that my aunt is resting comfortably and is not in any great pain. I was glad to hear that. He also immediately apologized to me for not contacting me for so long. At least he acknowledged that truth. He asked how I was doing and I was honest about it: that I’m managing, but I’m on a lot of medications, I’ve got good days and bad days, and I’m doing the best I can. I’m glad I made the call.

    Liked by 1 person

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