Monday, September 27, 2010

a trying time

I have not told many people where I live that my sister died.  I can't stand constant reminders.  I have to remain functional, and if I'm constantly being reminded, functioning may not happen.

I just flew back home after her funeral (if indeed this is home, but that's another post).  It is proving difficult for me to return to "normal."

Many people showed up for the wake and funeral.  My sister's 2 daughters who live there in Boston are very well supported. And why wouldn't they be?  They're young, attractive, smart and successful.  One is married to a great guy and the other is in a committed relationship, and beyond that, they have a wide circle of friends, some of whom traveled hundreds of miles to attend the funeral.

Although I didn't really dwell on it much, I was shocked whenever anyone came up to me to say they were sorry for my loss.  I am so accustomed to handling everything alone, and besides, I felt that my sister's daughters trumped her sister.  I considered myself insignificant, as usual.  So when I was acknowledged, I was...well....baffled, thinking that the person speaking to me must be daft.

My sister's third daughter lives in Vertaizon, France with her fantastic French husband and 3 young bilingual children, and they all attended the funeral.  Even that daughter had friends attending from other states, even though she's been living all over the globe during her adult life.

My sister is much older than I, and I grew up with her daughters.  The way things worked out, I was almost like another daughter of hers, especially once our mother died.

The funeral was unusual, led by nobody in particular since she had not been religious.  I spoke about her values, as expressed in her many emails to me, and the significance of hummingbirds for my sister and I over the past summer.  I talked about the 2 female hummingbirds which we had referred to as "the sisters" and I described the one last acrobatic air show they performed for me the day my sister died.  The people at the funeral seemed very touched by the hummingbirds story.

It was sad on many levels.  The experience made me realize how isolated I've been.  Boston is fairly close to where we all grew up in New York, so many people drove up from there.  I wish I didn't have to live so far away where my job is located.  Once The Child came into my life, the friends I thought I had kind of slipped away, since I was no longer foot loose and fancy free.  The Child has friends at school, so thank heavens he's not as isolated as I am. 

When it came time for me to leave, the niece's husband from France and the niece's husband from Boston fought over who'd drive me to the airport!  My sister must have somehow made that happen, because she always knew I felt alone.



Annie said...

Dear Betty,
First, thank you for the fall weather update! I appreciated it.

Second, your sister must have been very warm and reached out to a lot of people.
She established relationships and kept in touch and cared.
This is obvious from what you have shared about the people who came to the funeral and how they acted with you as well.

The Universe is asking you a question with this: "You have been isolated and alone, in part by choice. You can see that you do not have to be. Your sister is a role model of that. Would you like to make a few more warm connections where you have friends you value who value you?"

It is possible, dear Betty. You have been making so many positive chnages these last few months. You are really opening up and blossoming -- the yard, the house, the readiness for a new home -- and now maybe some new friends whose values you share.

Sometimes it just starts with a smile and a hello to a stranger:)


Lynilu said...

Annie said it well. I think it is time for you to crack your shell, Betty. I know your reluctance and some of the reason for that, but I don't think you should allow yourself to continue alone. Start making eye contact and smiling. Smiling will not only make friends; it will make others feel good and smile back, and it will help to heal your heart.

The Child is growing up. Before long, he will be gone, off on his own journey to slay dragons and charm princesses! Even now, he is growing away from you in a natural progression. Begin to find new attachments, new activities to help you ease into the next stage of your life (without your sister) and his.

Right now, while you are a bit off center anyway, use that momentum caused by the off-centerdness and move your circumference out.

Live for your sister. I think she would like that.

Blessing and hugs.

Annie said...

The Dinah Washington song is beautifully, poignantly bittersweet, a torch song you listen to when you are lonely. She has a voice of rich velvet weeping silent tears.

Big Dave T said...

A bittersweet song, for sure. Kind of melancholy but it's probably in keeping with events in your life of late. What courage and inspiration you possessed to deliver such touching remarks about your sister. I've delivered a few eulogies but nobody closer than my grandparents. I couldn't even imagine memorializing my parents or siblings in public.

As far as feeling socially isolated, can't help there much. I'm not much of a people person myself. But your other blogging buddies here sound like they're offering good advice.