When You Don’t Hear from Your Family

Read next

Dear Family Members,

Hey, it’s me! I was looking at some old photos the other day and stumbled across our family reunion ones. Do you remember how awful we all looked? I mean it was the 80s and we all thought we were probably super cool with that hair and those clothes. I don’t know about you but looking back made me cringe. 

I know through the years we grew up and life happened. I kept up with the news on you through my folks. I wasn’t great about keeping in touch personally and take full responsibility for that. 

But then the era of social media dawned. I found you and “friended” you. I celebrated when you had great news and when the news wasn’t great, I mourned with you.  Because you are family and family means a lot to me I always wanted you to know I was there for you. 

Recently though I noticed something, that our relationship has been rather one-sided. I know you are super busy with your life and there are the algorithms of social media but I started to wonder something. Do I ever cross your mind? 

You may roll your eyes, but I’m being serious. I’m not saying you have to think about me 24/7 in some sort of weird stalker-like way, but honestly, do you ever scroll through the posts or talk to your folks about us? 

I know we choose a very different path. You have a great career and these amazing smart children who could be fashion models. We adopted two special needs kids. I’m a stay at home mom who likes to bake and read. 

Our differences may be glaring but at the heart of it, we both have a strong love for our children and lives. I’m no less proud of my son’s ability to get that B with his profound learning disabilities or my daughter’s learning to sit independently at nine years old than you are of your son’s making the debate team or your daughter making all-stars cheering. I’m just as excited that I am volunteering at our local hospital as I am about your big promotion. 

This last week was awful. My daughter ended up in the hospital. Her platelet count had gotten to dangerous levels, she had an infection and to top it off part of her lung had collapsed. I was dazed, scared, and cried at least 20 times a day. I have honestly never been so frightened in my life. We came very close to losing her. Even though we are home now she is still in the danger zone. I am up around the clock making sure she is still safe. 

One night while I was watching her oxygen I was scrolling through social media and saw you having a huge argument with another family member. It wasn’t even anything important. But it made me sad. You took a huge amount of time to argue a little point but couldn’t take 10 seconds to check in on us. Your silence was deafening.   

Now, we have support. I have an amazing group of friends and our parents. We are loved. But to hear from you would have meant something. It would make a scary and confusing time a little bit better. 

I would love to chalk this up to media algorithms, but this one-sided relationship has gone on for years now. I have been given all sorts of advice on how to handle it. Unfriend, pointed comments, the list was quite long. 

But I have a better idea. I’m going to keep on cheering for you. The world is so broken and hurting right now, we don’t need another reason to be divided.  I’ll be there for you. When you celebrate and when you mourn. My love for you is unconditional and though reciprocation is nice, it’s not necessary. You are family and family is everything to me.


Your Family Member