I Want One More Look At You

I never thought the other shoe was going to drop but it did. One minute we were laughing, talking about the small things in and around our lives and the next the phone rang…it was nearly midnight and you were gone like a whisper on the wind.

Are you watching me now? Once upon a time there was a family of five: a husband, a wife and three little girls. There was no picket fence, or tidy, neat lives arranged in a row; but, they were my family and though I didn’t know it then I feel it now, I loved them. All of them. Our number is now TWO. Sisters we are, strangers we have become. Once we were whole. My parents held us all together with faith, love, and hard work.

There is no worse feeling than the uncertainty that final goodbyes bring. Will I ever see you again? Will I be Okay without you? Will I ever feel happiness again? Will there ever be a time when I feel like a part of something larger than myself? I used to think I was a misfit but I FIT with my family. A puzzle of sorts where my odd bits jutted out where theirs spooned in. Damn it! I want one more look at you. Sometimes it is so difficult to be in the world where I feel like I am on my own. Is it selfish to want to swim in waters of their love? One more hug, one more smile, one last chance to just sit and enjoy each other for awhile. If it is selfish I don’t care.

I really tried this year not to be sad on Breny’s birthday but I failed. Are you surprised? Don’t be, once a soul is broken it never regains its full glory. I drove to Dunkin’ Donuts and bought myself a pity donut, a French cruller, and a hot cup of coffee. I found myself sitting in the donut shop parking lot talking to her ghost? or maybe it was just that part of my soul that clings to her memory. After my sister died I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do so I could never forget her but who I am kidding? I think about her everyday! I will never forget. Her photos litter my office. I have all the cards she ever sent me, all the letters written in her left handed chicken scratches, every little thing I can hold.

It is harder for me now to remember what she sounded like. Her laugh, her joy, her angry voice, her concerned looks… not many people can say that their sibling is their best friend. She was my everything. https://youtu.be/Pm7vULhD0o0

Are you Watching Me Now?

Love the people in your life. Everyday is a gift don’t forget to open it!

Oh to be 50!

February 6th. It seems like an ordinary day and for most people I am sure it is. It is one of my toughest days to get through every year. Brenda was born on this day 1967. I write about her every year on her day. Love does not diminish just because the one you loved has gone, it simply becomes something quieter, something different. The tears that are rolling down my cheeks right now are a mix of sadness and joy; sad for the things we will never do together and joy for the acceptance and love she always gave me. Just because you have siblings does not guarantee you will enjoy them but I was lucky. She was my kid sister, my friend, my confidant, my partner in crime, mine.

She would have been 50 years old today. I can’t help but wonder if her beautiful red hair would be a slight shade of pink from the subtle grey hair I am sure she would be trying not to take ownership of. Would her beautiful face be wrinkled from time? Things I will never need to know the answers for.

The girl I grew up with was shy, timid almost. I swear she was born with a broken heart. She did not know her worth. As the saying goes,”you only accept the love you think you deserve.” So yes, you guessed it; her taste in men was HORRIBLE! We were both so young living life trying to find a path to our own happiness. Why didn’t I see she was hurting? Why didn’t I know enough to help her get away from those bad influences? Now, I have the experience of life behind me to understand but not then.

I freely admit when I think about my kid sister I always see her through rose colored glasses. That is the love I have for her. She wasn’t perfect. I am the one who put her on a pedestal. I am the one who tried to fix her brokenness. I am the one who didn’t see her truths because I didn’t want to look. She did some pretty shitty things to her life. I know now she was drowning, fighting to stay above water. She didn’t like herself. She never learned to forgive herself for her own shortcomings. She was convinced she wasn’t good enough. She spent her life trying to run away from herself instead of working her way TOWARDS something better. Once upon a time I was crying to her about my own struggles over my weight, my beauty, my self worth. I told her I would give anything to be like her because I thought she had everything. She sat very quietly listening to me and when she had enough of my pity party she said,” outer beauty is a prison. No one cares what I think or if I have a brain. They just look at me and make assumptions about my intelligence. They assign me a value. Men chase me like a prize to be won. I wish I were more like you; you have everything.”

Her words broke my heart but they made me see for the first time. We all struggle. We all have pain. I never got to tell her how much I loved her for all the things she was to me. She taught me so much about the power we all have but keep hidden in ourselves. After she died I came to learn from other people in her life just how much I meant to her. She admired me. I was her older sister and she was proud of me. ME!?! I am a better person because of our struggles together. Whenever I feel like I can’t go another step I try to remember that our journey together is not over just interrupted.

I miss you, Breny.

Love You,

Trish

The Hands Of Time

Time speeds by. It’s true nature is to keeping on ticking. You can’t get back lost time. You can’t jump into the future or to the past. Even though you can finds ways to save time; it won’t be in a bottle so you can use it at the end of eternity. Time is the great evader, just when you think you have enough you are all out of it. You can free up time but we usually waste what little of it we have. Life speeds by. Once I was a little girl, feels like yesterday. I can recall a time when I was just starting to feel like a grownup. Now I am on the precipice to middle age? How did that happen? Youth made me wish away my life so I would be old enough to drive, to go to college, to be an adult. What???? I thought, if only I were an adult, I would be Okay. I could do whatever I want, whenever I want, anytime I want. I kind of miss the foolishness and immaturity of youth {{{sigh}}}.

Wishing, wanting, needing more time doesn’t get you more. If it did I would fill out the required paperwork right now. I need more time. I want to go back to a happier time when the people I loved were young and happy and here.
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Yesterday I snapped this photo of my hand on my Dad’s hand. It struck a chord in me. How much my hands look like my Mom’s. How strong and virile and young my Dad once was. How much I miss my kid sister and my Mom. When did my Dad become old? How did I not notice?

They say that time is a healer but I think that is a lie. Time is a thief. It slowly robs you of the people you hold most dear to you. Live in your moments. Love the people in your life while you have them.  Make time to be with people you love. They want nothing from you but your time. Spend your time with them wisely. Reap its rewards. Go live life! Make memories.

That Unknown Part of Me I Can’t Let Go

You were like a Spring rain. Intense with high potential for damage. Just like a storm you left someone else to do the clean up, me. In your wildest dreams I bet you never imagined one little girl could leave behind such devastation. Hearts were broken, lives ruined; and yet the sun came out. The sun always shines after a storm. Even the heavens want the world to know there is light after darkness.

You taught me to be brave. You forced me to embrace my life. You have brought me places I wouldn’t go myself, you made me participate in my own life. All it took was you dying. So very sad , so very true. Why did you self destruct? Why didn’t you try harder to leave him? why didn’t you value yourself like I valued you? why didn’t you believe in the wonder that was you?

I have lost my way without you. I like to pretend I am above my feelings. I am drowning in my own pool of denial. The more I try to lie to myself about how I am doing the deeper the pool becomes. My tiny craft is taking on water. I am unable to bail the water fast enough. I am circling the drain wondering where all my time has gone off to adventure without me.

I am becoming an old lady without you. I used to wonder what that unknown part of me was. I finally figured it out. It’s the shards of my broken heart. Just when I think I am in a good space, I feel their pain as they push against my soul. Your laugh I hear only in dreams. Your smile a faded memory that mocks me from photographs. I miss the sound of your voice. I am afraid if I let you go, I will lose what little I have left of you.

Brave?

I love my Pops. Everyone who knows me knows how much I care about this man. People often say to me how strong I am or brave or what courage it takes to face his illness. I never know quite know how to respond to that. I know if the tables were turned and I was the one who was ill my Dad would be there. It is the character you build with the help of your parents that makes you the person you become. My parents had their faults, who doesn’t? They also tried very hard to instill certain values in us girls. Work hard, love with an open heart, be kind to people, listen, be understanding. Give of yourself not because it is expected of you but because want to share who you are with others. Nice counts.

My Dad never graduated high school. He was from an era in time when quitting school to seek a job to help your family was encouraged. I am sure my grandparents would have loved it if all of their children had stayed in school and jumped for their share of the American dream but dreams don’t put food on your table. My Dad has always had a strong sense of taking care of one’s own family. Do what needs to be done so they are provided for. He was a great provider. I can remember him having two part time jobs to help round out his full time job just to make ends meet. My mother was really unable to hold down a job for any significant amount of time. Her mental illness always got in her way. Crippling her ability to cope with every day duties of keeping the house and kids in line. Often my Dad had to be both parents.

My Dad never gave up on my mother and loved her devotedly until the day she died. Funny, he doesn’t remember her now. Sad for me; blessing for him? Who am I to say? I only know in my heart I am glad my mother did not live to see my Pops robbed of his memory. She nearly lost her mind after my sister passed away. I sometimes think that’s why her health declined so fast after Breny died ; she was broken. Both of my parents were clingy after her passing. My phone would ring off the hook. They would often call me to make sure I was Okay. Annoying then, but now I realize how hurt they were by her passing and how afraid they were for me and my other sister. Loss was not easy for either of them.

I deal with my Dad’s loss everyday. He is still here, yet he is not.  As the days go by I know my time being with him, laughing, living, crying and just being his kid are on the decline. He will not live forever despite my best efforts. I have become the parent to my parent. My parents taught me what to do. There is no bravery involved. Only love…and love can do anything. Love the people in your life while they are still here to share it. Dad/Trish

Who Is This Man?

I haven’t written a post in quite some time. I told myself I need some time off to regroup and enjoy my summer. As many of you know I had to place my Pops into a nursing home. Never an easy decision to make. The paperwork long,tedious and intrusive. I have always resisted placing my Pops because I didn’t want to lose him to the system. I have already lost more than I have ever imagined I would. My kid sister and my mother passed away. I have an older sister that I am not close to (my choice). I have distanced myself from her children as well. I can not live with their baggage and try to fix my baggage as well. Growing up in a dysfunctional family environment with no set coping skills will do that for you. My family’s way of getting through tough things together usually involved more yelling than conversation and lots of name calling and blame throwing. Counter productive to say the least. Not a real esteem builder either. I had to learn to accept and like myself on my terms.

I took the summer off from writing so I could find a way to set myself free from feeling guilty about what happened to Pops and I. I have not been handling our new living arrangement well at all. There are things about it I really like. I no longer have to meal plan for him or assist him in his bath. I get to eat supper with hubby every night and mostly I don’t have to worry Pops might roll away from his apartment for places unknown.

Do you have any idea how hard it has been for me to let go? Who is this man,that can’t remember my mother’s name? or that my kid sister had red hair? or that they both died too young and tragically? For my Pops it is a blessing but for me it is a curse. It only increases my sadness not dispels it. Who is this man? Dementia has changed everything about him I knew. This man is my Pops. I love him. I cry for the people he no longer remembers to miss. I cry for all that we have lost. stuff 005I cry because even though I see him whenever I can I MISS the man he used to be.

She

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.

Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here

Would She Know Me?

My Birthday wish can never come true. Every year I wish for you.

I am a little less than I used to be around the middle. My hair tinged with strips of silver and grey. I smile but it’s mostly for show. My eyes don’t sparkle from glee. I haven’t really been me.  Would she know me? It’s hard to say. I have gotten older yet she has remained the same.

Would she know me? I miss her smile and that wicked laugh. I miss her honesty and her messed up past.  I dream of her often, wonder why she had to go. Would she have left if she knew I needed her so?  Today is my birthday and I am more than a little blue. I miss my kid sister but there is not a thing I can do. Love is a magical thing. That makes you feel light as a feather. You can kick the world’s ass as long as you stick together.

Would she know me?  My heart could find her in one beat. I always knew when she was in trouble and needed me. I knew even on that day but I ignored that gnawing in my soul. I was trying to be in my life. She needed me that day. I could hear it in her voice when she called but I chose my life. There’s always tomorrow, right?

Life slapped me. It hit me hard. There are no tomorrows for us. I will never be the same. I am in my life but there are days like today when I feel more dead than alive. Love is magical but it can also be quite cruel. When it leaves you it leaves you. No words to say it is just gone like a shitty rainy day.

Would she know me? I think she might after all I got to be her big sister so I MUST have done something right.

The Best Gift That I Ever Got…

ImageYou were the best gift I ever got = )

Ten years ago today you were alive. I like to believe that you were happy but I have my doubts. It has been ten years since we last laughed, hugged, or shared a moment. YOU meant everything wonderful to me. You were my kid sister. Certain days are harder to live through, like today. Birthdays are supposed to be about celebration. You had the best laugh and the biggest heart. You hugged with your whole being. You hugged with a love I miss.

I saw it as my job to always have your back. You were MY kid sister, right? I hated to see you cry over an injustice or when someone broke your heart. You were the best gift I ever got. Even as kids I thought Mom and Dad had made you just for me. Sisters can be the greatest of blessings. Someone who knows all about you but loves you anyway. Only you could push my limits. You took NONE of my crap. You never gave into my selfish ways. You made me tow my line. I was the older sister but you taught me so much about life. I have so much to thank you for. You helped to shape the person I am. I can’t look at a sunny day and not think of you. You were my best friend.