June 2, 2019
I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight and processing all that has happened in the past three days.
I feel strangely emotional.
I feel tears starting to form in my eyes as I think of the sentiment unexpectedly uttered into my ear two days before, in a loud and crowded room,“I know everything you do is out of love for your kids.”
I am awestruck at the perception of this person, whom I have not had a deep conversation with in over a decade, and how he could sum up everything I am in one simple sentence.
It was profound, and in that instant I realized my little brother knew me far better than maybe anyone ever has.
With eight years of age between us, we grew up together and we experienced the same trauma. Him more so, as I escaped my home life on the day I turned 18 and never looked back. Those experiences bond you because, as siblings, no one else knows exactly what it was like.
You can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps—and the guests at his wedding were a symphony of love, friendship, kindness, generosity, hard work, dedication, and respect.
I was in awe of the man he had become: seeing him get married; listening to him share his feelings and be vulnerable; watching him dance, have fun, and be carefree; observing his genuine heartfelt interactions—not one person escaped a hug. I was so proud of my brother. His new father-in-law called him a “self-made man,” and he couldn’t be more right. So many wonderful accomplishments. My heart was so full.
And I almost missed it.
I almost missed seeing and experiencing it.
How could we have lost touch? The two out of seven siblings who are arguably the most alike?
Then I remembered where things changed for us. After the Navy, my brother went into the medical field—and I started to tell the world about my children’s vaccine injuries.
As he worked his way through college, I was learning about treating my children through diet and supplementation. When he started his internship, I was writing about vaccine injury and working for nonprofits. When he started his career, I was traveling the country with IonCleanse detoxification foot baths and homeschooling my teenagers. It was like we were on different planets.
When I heard he didn’t agree with my activism, it crushed me. But I understood. He was not there with me when I held my toddler’s lifeless body in my arms at the doctor’s office after three injections. He didn’t see the doctors and nurses scrambling to revive him, and he wasn’t there witnessing time stand still until the breathless doctor told me to never vaccinate him again with the DTaP.
I get it. It’s hard to understand if you haven’t been through it. I didn’t have any ill feelings, just sadness—because this was the brother I wanted to share all my life’s accomplishments with and because I had to speak my truth, I felt like our relationship would never be the same.
So I went to celebrate his big day, as his biggest cheerleader, with a hint of sadness, knowing we had lost the closeness we once shared.
And in our first conversation, he uttered the words, “I don’t want you to feel like you can’t share with me what you do. I know everything you do is because of how much you love your kids”
I was a bit shocked. He gets it. He gets me.
I know my story is just like thousands of other stories of parents who “just love their kids so much” who are completely misunderstood by those they love most.
This movement tears families apart. Why would anyone make that sacrifice?
Most of us don’t speak up out out of anger or hate. Many of us aren’t even comfortable with the attention telling our stories brings. But we love our kids SO MUCH. And we can’t let their injuries and lifelong struggles be in vain.
So if you have a loved one whom you disagree with, please think for a second, what is the real driving force behind them speaking out?
And then ask yourself if the sacrifice of a relationship over a difference of opinion or lifestyle choice is worth it. Or can we still show love and support to those with whom we disagree?
There is nothing greater than the feeling of unconditional love.
~ Green Bean Girl
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