Four months. Has it really been that long?

Four months have passed since my sister died.  Four.  Damn.

Has it really been that long since my boyfriend and I jumped in a car and drove 2 hours to get to the hospital she was being flown to?

Has it really been that long since I talked to her last?  Since I held her hand as she lay sedated in a hospital bed…connected to more machines than I could even begin to count?

Has it been that long since I talked to her normally…like nothing was wrong?  Talked to everyone that way, made everyone talk that way, so if she could hear us even slightly…all she would hear was love and comfort (and, of course, the usual family banter/bickering)…

Has it been that long since she woke up – just for a couple of days?  Since I asked her if she was in pain and she mouthed: “What do you think?” ?  Tube down her throat, could barely move her lips…and I still knew that was exactly what she said.  Because, she was my brat after all.  Wouldn’t expect less.

Has it been that long since we believed she was getting better?  That she was going to make it through this?  That long since we started planning for her recovery and rehabilitation and figuring out who would come to stay with her when?  That long since I left, because I thought she was getting better…that I would see her again in a couple of days…

Has it really been that long since I got the phone call?  From my mom telling me I needed to come back…that she had a rough night…that my brother and father were already on their way.  That I needed to come back.  Now.

Has it been that long…since I walked back into Room 257 for the final time?  Everyone was quiet.  So quiet.  The machines were gone.  The curtain was drawn.  I asked them all to leave.  Has it been that long, Brat?  Since I held your hand and ran my fingers through your hair?  Since I told you that it was okay?  That I wasn’t mad at you and in a way that maybe I was even happy…because you weren’t in pain anymore, weren’t stuck in a body that only fought against you.  That I told you how much I loved you and how much I would miss you?  Has it been that long since I watched our whole family fall apart around us, as I continued to hold your hand and run my fingers through your hair?  That long since I had to be told when to leave your side, because I couldn’t do it on my own?  Has it been that long since I had to say goodbye to you?

Yes.  I guess it has.

I miss you.  I love you.

Your sistah.

Admission of Guilt

…and I’m not talking about the guilt-grief kind.  I made this blog with one intention…giving me an outlet to express my feelings about my sister’s death.  In less than two months, I have somehow strayed from this.  I wasn’t supposed to worry about whether people were actually reading the blog or how my writing sounded to anyone else, etc.  The blog was supposed to be complete narcissistic devotion to myself.  Ha.

But, I started reading online about how to make your blog’s readership grow (already, straying from this blog’s purpose!)…and that inevitably led to the dreaded Facebook page.  Now, I already have problems with Facebook (the blog on death and Facebook is a comin’ – watch out, Facebook), so I don’t use my personal FB page that often anymore.  And, originally, I thought having a “Room 257” page would be good, as I could update it when new posts were up for any readers that I did have.  BUT – IT TOOK OVER MY LIFE.

Alright, not quite, but FRICKIN’-A.  FB is the most horribly addicting thing ever.  And, my page doesn’t even have 30 likes.  So, all-in-all, it’s not like there was that much new going on!  Even so, I started checking it a lot and exploring/liking other grief pages.  Some pages I connect with more (Remembering Our Lost Siblings and Death of a Loved one) for my own personal reasons…others, not so much.  There are so many pages, though, that anyone could find at least one page that he/she finds helpful.

To be clear, I’m not saying that this is at all bad…finding a FB community…I’m saying that I got carried away with being in charge of a page and trying to get “likes”.  I started with just typing up the quotes from poems that I like and posting pictures of them (also can see in “Quotes” section) on my FB page and on others’.  This, I like doing and will continue to do…but not with the pressure of thinking I have to do it often!  Because, I did start feeling this weird pressure to post something at least every couple of days…and that’s when it really got bad.  Because I started checking to see if people liked it or shared it or commented on it………and yesterday, I made an image to share (below) based on a FB conversation with someone…and today, it has been liked and shared and re-shared over 1,000 times.  Whoa.  It’s not that I don’t agree with what I wrote (duh, I wrote it), but I realized this wasn’t how I wanted to express myself.  Or, rather, this isn’t how I feel comfortable expressing myself.  I feel comfortable typing, right here, right now, on my laptop in Room 257 (my mental space for sister thoughts).

I do think that there is a weird sense or belief that grief is some sort of process and, eventually, you get over it.  But, I think – like the quote says – it’s really – that you learn to live with it.  So, if you seem better, it’s that you’ve figured out how to manage your loss to a certain degree – learned how to live with it (not that you’re over it or that it doesn’t affect you).  Since this image exploded on FB overnight, it seems many people agree.  And, I’m glad (and a little shocked) that I helped so many people express this feeling and I really do think it’s a topic that needs some good discussion.  But, I need to back off of the FB page obsession before I’m posting pictures of puppies and angels all day long.  LOL.

So, I’m apologizing for taking the focus from my blog to the FB page.  I like the page, I’ll still use the page to talk to people and occasionally post things…but I now officially vow to be addicted no more!  And, there are some really great FB grief sites, but I’m not equipped to be one of them.  I’m still a mess of emotions (that recently I’ve been doing my best not to deal with), so probably not the healthiest person to give any credence to at the moment.  Anywho…I’ve got to pee.  So, til the next blog…  (Oh and feel free to yell at me if I do start posting a plethora of puppy and angel images on FB!)

Proverbial slap on the wrist.  Done.Grief is not a Process

(My) Family and Grief

I love my family.  BUT – we are all very different people.  I have certain characteristics from both of my parents of course – but my combination of traits is much different than my brother’s and sister’s.  Needless to say, then, that we’re each handling my sister’s passing very differently.

My father is the most open about his feelings.  He wants to talk and share…in the extreme.  He wants us to all fall apart and lean on one another.  He keeps telling me that I need to “show my emotions.”  Thatjustmakesmewanttopunchhimintheface.  Fine…not really…but I don’t like being told how to feel about this.  My mother is handling this the most “normally.”  She’s a balance between expressing emotions and being stoic.  (Parents divorced btw.)  My brother and I don’t talk about it.  We just deal in our own way – privately.

What bonds our grief and at the same time, is the biggest rift between it is our guilt.  I wish I could say that my sister had an amazing, wonderful life.  She did not.  She was sick.  The list of health issues she had is never-ending…as is our guilt.  We all failed her.  We weren’t understanding enough when we should have been, weren’t there for her when we should have been, weren’t appreciative of the time we had together when we should have been…  We weren’t horrible, either, by any means…and many times, we thought we were doing all of these things…but if we truly had been, I don’t think we would be so full of regret now.  We knew her time may be limited and, yet, this didn’t affect our actions like I wish it would have.

And, she failed us, too.  She couldn’t accept that she would never have a “normal” life.  Or, couldn’t accept that she would have to work and fight for a healthy body.  She was so pissed that she didn’t always try, didn’t always follow the doctors’ orders.  She made her situation more difficult for herself and for us.  To the point where we sometimes “gave up,” because it was so hard to watch someone self-destruct.  These were the times that we would forget about the disease and the many times where she had actually tried.  Only to have the disease come back and knock her on her ass – to remind her that no matter how much effort she put in, it could come back at any moment to wreak havoc on her body, her mind, her soul.

So, each of us – sister, brother, mother, father – is trying to navigate our guilt.  We’re trying to look at where we failed, remind ourselves of the times that we did our best, and remember that my sister was a very difficult young lady. There is a reason that I fondly called her “Brat.”

It may seem a little twisted – trying to put blame on the dead.  But, in some cases, that’s where it belongs, too.  Nobody is perfect.  We all failed each other here.  It’s going to take some time to really clean up this mess of emotions that we’re each going through.  I’m hoping that some day, the positive memories with my sister become more vivid, more vibrant, more clear…instead of these gaping holes where positive memories should be.  I’m not there yet, though.

Not yet.


Tick Tock

I oh-so-proudly present my first poem!

Please do not have any higher expectations for this than you would for an elementary school child who has just learned about rhyming.  I think this poem may evolve over time.  Even now, I want to re-word some pieces of it, but as it has been typed up on a real typewriter – changing it would be a pain in the butt.

It’s about the passing of time…and my hate of it, because last week was her three month death date (I will work on finding a more eloquent way to say that.)  I’m 29 years old and it hit me that there is a high likelihood that I may have more years without a sister than I did with…and I do not like this at all.  Mainly because, well, she was supposed to be around, wasn’t she?  She’s my frickin’ little sister.  We were supposed to grow old and batty together.  We were supposed to continue to fight and drive each other insane well into our old age to further prove Mom wrong (she claimed we would “grow out of fighting”).  We were supposed to have so many years left together that we could even have a huge enough fight that we didn’t speak for a few of them.  AGdfS%@#4FJ24er$(#$@#*Ufd!!!!!

Next week, my family is coming to visit to celebrate me finally finishing up grad school.  I can’t help but get semi-depressed.  This is the first family get together without her.  In my head, I can’t stop thinking of how she should be there.  Just like she should be there next year if I get married and if I have a baby.  (If you know me personally, you know these are highly unlikely events, but still – she should be around just in case.)  She’s just supposed to be there for the good and the bad, the ups and downs, and everything in-between.  But all the “supposed to” in the world, can’t bring the brat back to me.  And. I. Hate. It.

And I dread the day when I can say that I’ve had more time without her in my life than with her.

Tick Tock