In two days my brother leaves for China for the next 10 months. He will be teaching English to middle school children and it is sure to be a great learning experience for him. He is scared out of his mind, and rightfully so, but I think he is ultimately excited to be going.

I am dreading 10 months without my brother. He is 2.5 years younger than me, and apart from my fiancee, he knows me like nobody else does. He is the only one I have in my life who truly understands what happened to us in our childhoods and how it can affect our everyday lives in the present. We have always been very close and each other’s biggest supporters (of course our abusive father always complained about us being “too close,” “ganging up on him,” and “always being on each other’s side.”). I know that when I need to reality check, I can go to my brother and he will understand. When I am questioning my memory (as those of us who have experienced gaslighting are wont to do), he confirms what really happened.

I suspect he is having some similar feelings about leaving me, because last night we went out to dinner and he kept bringing up things that we had done as kids to survive the abuse and try to make a pleasant world for ourselves. “Remember when we used to bundle up in our coats and put our heads in so we could pretend to be asleep in the car?” “Remember when we made up that shared delusion/fantasy that a robber had come to take everything material away because we couldn’t deal with our father taking everything else away?” We are the only ones who understand these things for each other.

I know there will be ways to communicate with him in China, but it won’t be easy. Facebook is blocked in China, and he’ll have to get a cheap phone while he’s there. I’m not sure if he’ll have the money to call long-distance. There’s always Skype, but with the time difference I’m not sure how this will work out if I continue to work third shift and he’s at work during his day. Letters will most likely be subject to censorship. I know we’ll find a way to communicate, but it’s scary not having a plan.

Also, he will be missing my MSW graduation in May. He wants to come, but flights to and from China are way out of our budget. I really wish I could have him there, because he has been one of my biggest supports during this degree.

I know I’ll adjust to him being gone. I’m just feeling pretty sad about it today. I’m going to say goodbye to him tomorrow because his flight is during my shift early Thursday morning. I really hope I can keep it together so that I don’t make him more upset and anxious about leaving. I know this is something that is going to be very good for him, and I want him to have a good time without worrying about me.

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