I am the sister of an (alleged) child sex offender. This says nothing about me and yet it came rushing into my world like a flood and has transformed everything I know. When you find out that the police have reason to believe that someone you thought was kind and gentle and safe is a monster you find that it is hard to understand the world in the way you thought you did before.
The last 2 weeks (and I can't believe that tomorrow it will BE two weeks that we have lived with this) have contained a lot of hard lessons. I am still shocked enough that I spend a lot of time talking about it all again and again. I'm not ready to move on yet and the way the process goes that's just as well because we just don't know what happens next. I've found that I have learned a lot about my own past and the past of my family through this new pain. Yet the most confusing part of it all is that see the people who hurt me when I was young as evil and it is very hard to see that same evil in my brother. Yet they say it is there.
I have felt so much guilt because I can't reach out to him. When he goes to jail I will not feel safe visiting because a place full of sex offenders is one of my greatest nightmares (even though I realize that is why he'll be there too and that he is not different than the rest). However it is entirely possible that I may never see him outside of jail again either. I can't call him; the thought makes me sick. And so after a lot of thought I decided to see a "thinking of you" greeting card, signed with only my name.
Did you know they don't make those for a target audience of someone waiting to go to trial on a heinous crime? In the card aisle today it felt like they had cards for everything but "thinking of you while you wait for trial and a probably long jail sentence". Even most of the blank cards weren't appropriate. I don't want a message about how much I care or support him. I don't want to re-establish our friendship. I don't want to send pictures of children. Even sending a picture of a cat seems kind of mean since I'm going take his cats soon.
It took seemingly forever to find 3 sort of ok cards, all blank. I scrawled 3 words and my name on one and tossed it in the mail. I am glad I was able to do this; I needed to feel that I could reach out somehow. I learned from evicting my father from my life (something that had to be done and which I am not sorry I did) that you can't ever really get completely away from a family member. At least I'm not built that way. I am sure that more and more anger and a period of hatred are coming and I think those things are normal and ok. But I also need to know that I can show some grace and understand that this is not my shame. If I can make 3 minutes of the agony he is living with while waiting endlessly and living practically under house arrest because it's not very safe to go out after your picture is all over the news as a sex offender a little easier than I will. Someday I'll feel the same about jail.
I will admit though that it was much easier when I was about 7 and he went to college and I would save up quarters and mail them to him wrapped in toilet paper so he could buy Mountain Dew.