That awkward moment…

…when you inform someone your sister is dead.

I’ve occasionally wondered how I’m supposed to talk about my sister…  What happens when I meet a new person and they ask about my family?  Should I speak as if I only have a brother…or should I talk as if my sister is still alive?  Thus, avoiding all awkwardness or should I just be honest?  Live brother.  Dead sister.  Deal with it.  I have to.

I don’t know that I could ever act as if I have just one sibling…that seems weird and is a lie.  I’m not good at lying – my facial expressions are a direct link to whatever thought is occurring in my brain at the moment it is occurring.  No filters here.  My brain/face glitch when I lie.  So, I can’t act as if she didn’t exist.  And, I don’t want to.  At the same time, culturally, it doesn’t feel like I’m supposed to talk about her death, either.  Don’t want to ruin the mood…of whatever more positive mood is going on…  Gotta be normal.  (I guess this would be a good future blog topic, but is not the point of this one.)

Today, I had my first experience with informing someone that she is dead.  Specifically, I told my new dentist (as if dentist experiences weren’t already horrible enough!).

Convo (going over health history):

Dentist: Any history of autoimmune disease?  Fibromyalgia?  Lupus?
Me: My sister had Lupus.
Dentist: Had?  Lupus isn’t a past tense disease.  She has Lupus.
Me: Not if she’s dead.
Dentist: Well, I put my foot in my mouth there.

Then, of course, the dentist apologized for my sister’s untimely death and asked a few more questions.  But, in a way, it was kind of funny…awkward funny.  Maybe it was even cathartic just to talk about it out loud for a moment…because I don’t talk about it that often.  I think about it constantly, but rarely am I going on and on about my dead sister (except here in the blog, of course – ha!).  Again, cuz that’s just not the cultural norm.  And, people don’t bring her up to me, because they don’t want to chance upsetting me.  Fully understandable…because it’s quite possible I would get upset.  But not bad upset.  There’s not a “bad” upset in this case.  I’m “good” upset over her.  Every heart ache, every tear expresses my love for her.  That’s fine by me.

Though, I’m guessing the dentist will avoid correcting past tense usage from now on!

 

2 thoughts on “That awkward moment…

  1. Today was the first time I had to explain to someone about your sister. I was horribly unprepared. A mutual friend asked how you were doing and I said “she’s great!” I had mistaken his question, presuming he had heard some good news (a.k.a. New job prospects)…but then I saw the look of sadness on his face. “Oh, yeah.”…awkward silence, then some stumbling over words as I tried to explain without saying the word “died.” I said “passed away,” which seemed even more awkward. There was more stammering about how you were “doing well, considering…” but I guess I don’t know if that’s altogether true. I am just hoping. :-/

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