Monday, October 20, 2008

Simply a loss

I have always liked being around her. Actually couldn't wait to see her. We laughed so hard we'd cry. She felt safe to me. I felt the sincerity without a try.
A little over a year ago my brother- in- law found out he had cancer. My sister, myself, my husband, and my mom were there when he got the news. That day our lives were changed forever. My brother-in law was to all of us the humor in our lives, the rock, the sounding block and was one of the most sincere people you'd ever meet. He was a principal of a school and he touched a whole community of people. I can't even express how much he was like a father, brother, friend and confidant.
From that day she put off onto all of us, especially myself and my husband, you help and make decisions for us. Along with the immense sadness, we ran ourselves ragged doing every possible thing we could for them. Beyond what we could even conceive that we could be doing all this in our lives. My husband stopped working so that we could take care of him, because my sister has the same issues as myself. My sister didn't do much, and expected a lot. It was like it was our duty. We wanted to be there and help, but we were taken for granted. He went down hill fast and was in tremendous pain and we had to comfort him, take care of personal needs, and become a nurse and administer all kinds of drugs on our on accord. Meanwhile while we did this, my sister was on the phone for hours at a time updating people on his condition and telling of her goings on. Then about 10pm every night go to bed, fall fast asleep while we didn't sleep for about a month.
Anyways, he passed away one evening about a month and a half after his diagnosis. I miss him, I miss his smile and his tender heart and I wouldn't change a thing. Because one of the worst times in my life is also one of the best. We got to tell each other how much we loved one another and was able to nurture someone till there last breath. 
Now I've seen the side of my sister that I never have before. She is completely different and I just can't get over the self absorbency she has around herself. Her ideas of what happened during this are not real. She has herself running a muck and doing things she didn't do.
This person whom I used to love to be around is someone I don't know and really despise. I hate feeling this way and I've tried to do everything in my power to be ok with the whole situation, but I'm not.
She's not a person I can talk to. She has her little world that is perfect, organized and simply naive and somewhat sheltered. This is something dealt with on my own and it's just very sad to me. I've always known her and him, because they were married when I was 2. I really have never known just her. And I know she probably doesn't even know who she is. They were married 35 years. All I know is she is not my favorite person anymore and I have never felt like this towards anyone before. I feel like a horrible sister and I don't know what I'm going to do, but I feel like I've been through a death of 2 people dear to my heart.


Jake said...

Sorry to hear about your sad loss. and the probs with your sister. You've always known her illuminated by the bright light of your brother in law and now perhaps you see the person she's always been all along, either that, or the stress of her impending loss had a bad effect on her, sometimes people release the (why me) anger they feel in the easiest direction they can, towards the people they love. I think time will heal the anger this has produced in you and get you use to how the relationship with your sister has changed too. Hope that helps.

An Artist Exposed said...

Your last sentence was the most sad and moving of all really and I can absolutely see how this feels like a double loss


I hope that, somehow, writing about these experiences has helped a little

La Roo said...

Thank you Jake and Artist,
I just needed to get it out. I hope that time will help work things out. Who knows? Life hands you quite a few things you just want to throw your hands up in disbelief. But I so appreciate the kind thoughts and words.

Bob said...

My brother and I have the same type of relationship you do with your sister. Without going into details I cut off the relationship 4 years ago and have never looked back. It was unhealthy to continue to manage a relationship with him and this move was the best for me. Sometimes we're forced, out of self preservation, to make decisions like that. Given the behavior of your sis, I think you're half way there. Don't feel bad about what you have to do.

BTW: You and your husband are saints for caring as you did for your brother-in-law. What a gift you gave to him in the last month of his life.

ausallblack said...

your problems make mine pale in to insignificance la roo but I guess pity is not what you want its understanding your feelings and emotions and I see what you mean when you say its not all about hearts and flowers ,we are also going through a similar thing with a dear friend of ours (a subject I haven't got to yet)she has an inoperable brain tumour and is in the final stages of her fight,its soul destroying to see a vibrant healthy person change so quickly and like you her son cannot deal with it so it is left to the rest of us to deal with ,I just want you to know I may or may not be of help but I am always willing to listed

momentextase said...

La Roo, please accept my (and our) condolences, there are so many things familiar to me in what you write so powerfully here.

You wrote:

"I miss his smile and his tender heart and I wouldn't change a thing. Because one of the worst times in my life is also one of the best."

This is just amazing, so many times after my lover died (also of cancer) I attempted to describe this ("one of the worst times in my life is also one of the best") to those worried about my grief. I think until one has had the immensely graceful experience you describe -it may not be completely understandable for many people. People were so puzzled how the worst could be also paradoxically be the best. In any case thank you for writing this, knowing that you too have felt that is another bit of closure for me.

She had taught us all we needed to know. She lived and died -in beauty.

Jeez, that was 7 years ago, and we had been together for 10. In that time, she taught me something I carry still, she would always what I call "hold space..." for people, and it rubbed off on me and is a gift she left for me.

When I met her, she already had a rather large group of friends that had gathered around her. Like your brother-in-law, she had an immense power to touch people. She was bi, this group was rather bohemian and she coaxed me into both the swinging world and the poly world.

One of our lovers, upon hearing the diagnosis, reacted in a similar way to your sister. Her behavior became more and more unbelievable. You wrote of your sister as becoming someone you didn't know -as time ran out this was everyones reaction to this woman also. We could not believe she was the same person we "use" to know. She was doing the same basic things you describe your sister doing. It was so bad that there was discussion about not allowing her to the funeral, she had upset everyone so much.

Anyway...people react in very different ways to shock and loss. As upset, angry and baffled as we were, we "held space..." for her, and just stood back and allowed her process to happen. After about a year, she collapsed. She had been in such denial, so psychically unable to accept reality -she ended up creating her own. I guess she had to put off emotionally dealing with things for a while, until she had the resources to begin her grief. As that happened, she slowly returned to who she had been before...

I know someone else, he lost his son to a car accident 5 years ago. He still is in an altered reality, a vast denial...still holding on. I hold space for him to eventually fully integrate what happened... but that may never happen for him, no one can know. But I still hold space for him, despite how hard it is seeing him so stuck -and so unhappy, so angry at life.

No matter how angry, upset, sad or even disgusted one can feel, it is possible to hold space. We can't help how we feel, we feel the way we are suppose to feel. But still it is possible to "hold space"...even if you never talk to the person again.

Not sure if this helps you, but consider that a person's behavior is not the person themselves. The mind and heart, like life, can be a fragile thing. Compassion and forgiveness are powerful acts of self, please consider this as my passing on to you a tool, a choice, that was left to me by someone dear I lost. Take care.