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Break down in sisterhood

Joined: 9/27/2014
Posts: 1
I visited my sister Sasha 5 years ago when her first son Joshua was born. We have always had a tumultuous relationship and I wanted to show sisterly support. I traveled from South Africa to England and the ticket was expensive
(800 pounds). I traveled with my 2 year old daughter Milly, our suitcase half-filled with gifts for my sister and her new baby. Before travelling
I had asked previously if she would like me to come and she said that she would. I asked if it would be OK if I could have a lift from the airport as I was concerned about how to manage my 2 year old and luggage on a bus ride from the airport to her house approximately 3 hours away. My daughter was very active at this stage.My sister said that this was fine. Her husband Garth picked my up from the airport and I was very grateful. When I arrived my mother was there (she was also visiting) and there was a lot of tension between my sister and mother. I thought that I did a pretty good job of trying to stay out of the tension and attempting to keep the peace. Whenever we went grocery shopping I paid for half of the bill. I bought my sister and husband Indian takeout because I couldn't take them out to restaurant with their very new baby. I paid for all excursions and entrances places that we visited.
I kept track of my phone bill and paid for my phone calls. I cooked most of the evening meals and did much washing up. During my stay my sister was upset because I used the wrong board to cut some bread. She was also upset when a blanket I was using on the sofa was touching the floor. Near the end of my stay my sister asked me to pay 80 pounds petrol money for my lifts to the airport. I explained that this was difficult for me-I didn't have 80 pounds, having used all my pocket money already for daily expenses. At this stage we did not have extra money to spare-having used all extra to finance the air trip. I had just had enough money to buy some gifts of tea for family back home. She was upset that I did not have 80 pounds for her and I was upset that she had asked considering I had spent 800 pounds for my air ticket to visit her. Near the end of my trip she asked if I could take a train to bristol and her husband give me a lift from there. I felt very vulnerable with my two year with luggage on the train and was upset but agreed. One year later, the visit came up in a skype conversation. My sister became angry as she accused me of having ill intentions during my visit. This surprised and shocked me. She hung up the skype call and then wrote the following letter to me and copied it to my family.

Because it was sent one year after the event I couldn't remember some of the details that were addressed. "Dear Mommy, Tamary and Daddy
I have been deliberating for some time whether to send this email, because I'm not convinced it would be productive. Following my conversation with Tamary today, I realise that it is important to relay our experience of events when Tamary and Mommy came to visit newborn Joshua. We have not wanted to stir emotion, but it has become clear that there have been conversations without our input, and hopefully this will help provide some perspective.
Mommy - when you arrived, Joshua was but two weeks' old, and I was feeling in need. I think that you might have been in a difficult place at that time too, and unfortunately I was unable to be giving. I think I knew beforehand that this probably wasn't the best time for the visit, but romanticised the newborn phase a bit and wanted to embrace your gesture and share this time with you.
Tamary - I was really angry and upset by the time you came to leave. By the end I began to think that you were really trying to goad us (I'm not sure whether this was conscious or not). One day you laughed at the state of my car, because of the debris of toys and food that Milly had left in it – I thought you were going to offer to clean it out... nothing. It was the same around the house – leaving soiled nappies and clothes in the bathroom, just as an example. These may seem trivial, but added together with numerous other instances, it made the living space really awkward. No, it's not about being messy, we aren't the most tidy people ourselves – it's about feeling that our home is being respected or given some kind of consideration. Unfortunately this also impacts upon the way we feel we are being treated.
Garth got little thanks for using the last two days of his holiday to pick you up and drop you off at the airport – in fact, I 'got it' when I asked if you might be able to take the train to Bristol to meet Garth to take you back to the airport (I hadn't wanted to do the 2.5 hour round trip to Bristol by myself with a 6 week old baby). You were clearly angry, but I was surprised at this, given that Garth was already going quite out of his way to make your journey back home as easy as possible.
The only offer of assistance for grocery shopping for these 4 weeks was £10 from Tamary – bearing in mind that we'd been functioning on a significantly reduced income. We had assumed that Tamary would offer a contribution towards the fuel used to pick her up from the airport (nearly a 6 hour round trip x 2) – and felt really awkward when we eventually had to ask... I 'got it' again... Tamary stated how hard it was for South Africans to go on holiday in England (I didn't realise there was the expectation that we would be supporting the trip so significantly in terms of finance – this is definitely a conversation we should have had beforehand).
I didn't say anything at the time, because I didn't want a confrontation, we were trying to make it a happy time. In retrospect, this probably wasn't the best thing. By the way, I'm not suggesting that we're totally blameless in this story - my point is more that there are always two sides to every story, and this is our perspective, which I don't believe has been heard.
Anyway, I realise these are difficult kinds of conversations to have from other sides of the globe, but when my own character is brought unjustly (in my opinion) into disrepute I feel it necessary to find my voice.
Tamary, I'm sorry I couldn't speak with you further on the phone about this, but I didn't feel I was being heard.
I love you all very much.
xx". We have had little communication since the sending of this letter. I wrote a hurt response back. I could not believe that she could have felt that I would have had any bad intentions towards her. I think of her every day. Any advise would be appreciated.
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