Saturday, September 18, 2010

my sister

I started feeling weird yesterday afternoon, for no apparent reason.  It seemed as though my world had changed somehow.  The Child had 3 friends for an overnight, so there was plenty of chaos to distract me from this odd feeling.  When I went to bed I couldn't read the way I normally do.  I just sat there thinking, planning to read but never getting to it, and then finally drifting off.

I was awakened by the phone call, the one I never wanted.  My sister has passed away.

It's funny how you're still expected to function.  You still have to take the dog out, even though the world you're taking him out in has suddenly transformed.  You still have to be the adult in charge of 4 early adolescent boys, even though you're in shock.  You still have to drive to Tim Horton's for the promised donuts, even though you no longer have a sister.

A block from my house on the way to Tim Horton's, it started to hit me just how much things had changed.  I remembered that one of my sister's first jobs was waitressing at Dunkin' Donuts.   I sobbed, unable to see the road I was driving on, as I recalled how much she liked coffee, and how she was such a popular waitress because of her winning personality.  I realized that everything I do now is going to remind me of my sister in some way.  The very act of driving my car set off the memory of the bond we shared in disliking driving.  (She had taken the bold step of quitting driving years ago, which is possible in a city like Boston.) 

Why is it that I thought she'd live forever despite the cancer that took her over?

During the last months of her life, we had become closer than we'd ever been before.  Even after she became bedridden, I wrote her emails daily which were printed out for her to read.

My last visit to Boston to see her was last month.  It was a chaotic visit in which I had to do a lot of busywork like installing software on her computer and scanning old photos for her and tracking down oxicodone from Dana Farber Cancer Hospital.  I didn't have any time to just sit there and talk, with her responding by writing since her voice was taken by the cancer.  The night before I left, we did the unthinkable: she got herself all dolled up and I took her to a concert.  (She hadn't been leaving her apartment at all.)  I was scared to death that she was going to fall or faint or something traumatic.  But she loved it.

When I left Boston the next morning, she came to her door and stood there, watching me leave.  That bothered me a lot, because it wasn't her style, especially in her weakened state.  I was afraid that she thought it was the last time she was ever going to see me.

I was told that she asked, by mouthing the words, if I was there shortly before she died.  I wish I had been.



Lynilu said...

I'm so sorry, Betty.

We always think we have more time, infinite time. The good thing is that you had the wisdom to become close. You will never regret that, despite your pain right now.

You world is forever changed, but the love you shared in those last few months will be with your forever.

Peace, dear Betty.

Annie said...

I'm so sorry, dear Betty.

And yes, you said it so well. How is it possible that the world goes on so unheedingly when your own world has been shattered like that?

I believe that your sister asked if you were there because her soul saw you very close...

And Lynilu, as always, said it very well.


Annie said...

-- Just came by again to send you some love --

B.S. said...

Dear Annie and Lynilu,

Thank you for your kind thoughts.

I am trying to make plans to go to Boston for the funeral, but I can hardly think straight. I am also reluctant to go there knowing I won't be able to see her.

I am grateful for your support.

Love and hugs,

Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
So sorry to hear of your loss. The world is definitely changed when we lose a loved one.