I have experienced great loss in my life. My kid sister, my Mom, my Pops, my cousin Mike. I love each of them dearly in entirely different ways. Both my cousin and my sister were on the younger side of life. My world was shaken to its core the day my sister died. Losing her changed me in ways I never imagined a person could change. I am kinder. I am in my moments. I tell people I love them. I HUG. I am less guarded with my emotions, which is both a blessing and a curse. I am not perfect nor do I want to be. Some days I am still a shit. I can be hateful but I try to be the better version of myself everyday.
I am writing this because I am trying to reign in my emotions. I have had a tough couple of days which in all honesty pales in comparison to the last couple of days in life of someone I love, my Auntie T. I love this woman. She is my Mother’s kid sister. She has always been the cool Aunt. The one who took you on adventures when you were a kid. The one who bought you the Christmas gift your parents didn’t know you needed. She took me to have my picture taken by a photographer before I started Kindergarten. I was petrified of the camera. She was so patient. I am part Native American so who knows maybe our ancestors knew a thing or two about soul stealers? When I was a little girl, before my Auntie started a family of her own, she was my magic. There was always something about her, almost like an energy, a force of nature.
As life sometime goes, in the process of growing up you also grow away. Life is a selfish journey sometimes and though no one is at fault we all move in directions that sometime remove us from the people we love the most. My teen years and her own growing family changed our dynamic. We were busy moving in our own circles. Our lives on very separate paths for a long time…and then my sister died, and my mother was not well. Over the next few years I grew closer to my Auntie again. I guess I never realized just how much she has meant to me until she told me that she needed heart surgery.
My own mother had heart surgery when she was 48 or 49 years old. She almost did not survive. My mother smoked. She was obese. She struggled with mental illness. The real problems with her recovery were linked to a 3 pack a day smoking habit and the amount of psyche meds she was on. She was in a medically induced coma for several days and her body did not want to breathe again on its own. Eventually my mother got better and after a very long 10 months she was back to herself. The vision of my mom lying lifeless after surgery lives in my memory. Needless to say I was very afraid for my Auntie.
I prayed. Small thing, right? Not for me. Not for the girl who feels invisible, even to God. I was relieved when the text came through my phone that my Auntie had pulled through surgery ok. Maybe just this once God heard me. I went to visit with her today. She is doing well. She is so much more healthier than my poor mother ever was. She has a long recovery in front of her but she will make it. I hope she has many well lived years ahead of her. Never underestimate what you mean to someone. I have always tried to be the best example to my niece and nephews because of my Auntie T. She knows I love her but I don’t think she knows how important a role she has played in my life. Thank you for being you.
…and if it is can we start a different game? For the first time in my recent history I just may feel as old as I actually am. I am not feeling well. I feel tired, run down. I am typing this blind right now because my eyes are burning so badly that I can not focus even with my glasses on. Ever since my episode of A-fib I have not been sleeping well, more from my own worries than whatever it is that my heart is doing. Yes, I am doing my adulting. I have an appointment with a cardiologist so let the testing begin ( and may the odds ever be in your favor). My symptoms are keeping quiet for the most part and my life is sort of back to the hot mess it has always been.
I am one of the lucky ones. I have never had the misfortune of being unwell. I am usually the one who takes care of everybody else. My poor hubby is worried about me in a way I don’t think he has ever been before. I love him for that but all of the hovering is making me nervous. He has no idea how to help me. His role has always been to comb my ruffled feathers back into place when a hair gets across my ass or I am upset over something small, trivial and of the utmost importance to me and me alone.
I am back to me. The me that was in this (better eating for a better me) for the long haul before the holidays hit. I shopped, I logged, I conquered. Well at least I did better with my choices this week and that, in my book, is a win. I feel like I accomplished something good for myself. I feel like I can continue to learn, live and succeed as a WW.
She used to be here. Now she is not. She used to love me; now her love lives in my heart. With her I never had to be anything more than who I already was. She never wanted anything from me other than myself. She was my biggest fan and my best friend. The youngest of three. She was known as kid sister to me.
One might think that eleven years later my sister’s death would be easier to live with. I move through life. I am still waiting…for the pain to be less, for the sting to fade but it lingers.
I am that favorite vase. Shattered and cracked. Fused back together with Superglue and good intentions. Like the vase I look ok but if you get close enough things might let go and spill its contents over the floor.
She had a way about her. She was so shy almost timid when she was a little girl. Fragile. I always felt like I had to protect her. She got hurt anyway. I couldn’t save her from that. People played on her vulnerability. She knew how to be defiant. She would fight with her whole being to suppress a tear if it meant she held the upper hand. When she would allow herself to cry it was usually in my embrace. Me, her safe haven.
The saddest thing? She never understood what SHE was worth. I know what she was worth. My time, my life, my joy, my laughter was better with her in it. She is still missed. I still look for her in a crowd, certain she is out there somewhere just out of reach, waiting for me.
You tell me. I hate what this disease has turned me into. What it has turned my Pops into. The façade I put up for people keeps me safe; keeps them at arms length. I struggle everyday with the possibility that someone will find out I am a lie. I don’t have all of the answers. I am more lost than found. My heart torn into so many little pieces I am losing track of the last day I felt whole. I would walk away from my life if I knew it meant distancing myself from anymore sadness,pain and disappointment. But how do you walk away from those you love? What kind of a person would I be if I jumped ship just as soon as another deck hand was needed?
I skipped going to see Dad on Mother’s Day because I knew his nursing home would be overflowing with guilty children trying to cram a years worth of visits into that one special day. I went to see Dad this afternoon. I should have just stayed home. All the fresh laundry I brought to him on Saturday gone from his closet. I know things like this happen but everything? Really?
I can’t ask Dad what happened to his stuff. He doesn’t know. He exists in that world of zero accountability. I am just supposed to accept it, laugh it off and move on to the next topic. More often than not I feel frustrated after our visits. Like a carnival ride I can’t get off of.
We are a jigsaw puzzle with key pieces missing. We hold onto the box, our work in progress hoping that one day what is missing will be found. The problem? Dementia reshapes the pieces. The puzzle constantly changing. Only the edges are complete.
If I stopped going to see him would he even know? Could I live with myself? sleep at night? probably not. I go for him as much as I go for myself. He is all I have left of the family I once knew. In his smile I see the beauty of our family. It is there in his eyes I see the love he has for me. The trust he has given me. He believes in me. I used to look at him in that same way when I was a child.
For him I am brave. For him I try not to be lost. For him I would give all that I am.