That is what my darling son, only 9 years old, said when we left home at dawn the very morning I wrote the last post. (Maybe he was remembering Forrest Gump.)
That previous post, that was actually written after midnight, so what I thought was written on the 6th December, was written on the 7th. My sister died 4 1/2 hours later. It’s high time I wrote about this, if only for my own healing.
The phone rang at 5am. My Aunty. “Julia” she said. And I knew. All she said next was my sister’s name. The shock, the utter confusion … we were supposed to be there. We were supposed to be TOLD. She was not supposed to die alone, with nobody there. The nursing home fucked up there, and myself and my parents are trying to come to terms with that. Nobody told us that once the syringe driver was put in, death usually occurred around 12 hours later. I panicked as if there were not all the time in the world, now, to get to the nursing home. Because, of course, it wasn’t crucial, anymore. After dropping my son off at his Dad’s, I went straight to the nursing home, and I couldn’t get in. They weren’t answering the night bell. My parents arrived about 1/2 hour after I did. When I arrived, she was still warm. When we left, she was cold.
Her Requiem funeral mass was one week later.
That last day, the one I wrote about below, haunts the three of us… myself and my parents. Video loop inside our heads. The intense frightened look in her eyes as she so earnestly tried to TALK, but not even a whisper came out, just her lips moving. She knew. We know that now.She was trying to tell us something.
It’s only now, three months later, that the surreal feeling and thought “did that just happen? How could that have happened?? That CAN’T have happened.” is lessening. Though, when I went to Saturday’s Easter Vigil Mass with my mother last weekend, and saw the banners my sister had made for the church displayed, I felt confused at how the hell could those things she had worked on with her own hand be still here, and she isn’t. Not even her body (she was cremated). Occasionally it still hits me like that. Mostly, though, it’s the not knowing. The “where the hell IS she now?” thought. The one that hits me everytime I turn off the bedside lamp and I start sobbing. I’ve become very good at diverting myself with watching dvd’s on the laptop in bed, so that I don’t have to have silence, and try to sleep. Because it hurts when I do. Here’s a pathetic admission–I reach out my arms in the dark, looking for her.
I don’t know if I believe in any ‘higher power’ any more. I ask for signs. How pathetic, and how common. I thought I had unshakeable spiritual beliefs. Over the last five years, I’ve felt like I have had the rug pulled out from under me numerous times. With my sister’s death, I have felt literally ‘groundless’. Like there was NO ground under my feet. I guess this is very normal when someone has the shock and distress of their first encounter with all-encompassing grief over someone close to them.
I don’t know that I’m coping too well. I have become even more reclusive than before. If I don’t have my son here to get up for, I stay in bed, with my eyes closed, because I don’t want to deal with life (breaking my foot and tearing the ligaments in my ankle at the same time a month later kind of gave me good reason, too). I should be happy, right? Happy that I survived cancer. But I’m not. She was the better person. And more beloved.
I know regrets are normal too, in grief, but it doesn’t stop them. Regrets that I wasn’t more patient and loving. Regrets that I didn’t cherish enough. A million more. But, on the other hand, the very special memory of the both of us sharing Relay for Life together the year before.
So now, after writing this, I have a headache, and a blocked nose, and swollen eyes, and a pile of tissues beside me. I’ve let myself cry like I haven’t done for a long while. I usually try to force myself not to think of it. It’s been particularly hard these last two weeks as we had to have my old dog put down. She was 16, and at the end, it was just like with my sister. Sudden, and she was twitching, just like my sister. Doubledose. And so, soSO hard, with nobody to hold me, love me, and tell me ‘it will be alright’, even if it won’t be. Doing this alone is barely comprehensible.
I logged in here to vent about some extremely irritating things. Instead, I had to update what had happened. And, it seems it was the right and proper thing. I am no longer irritated. Just incredibly, desperately sad. Perspective.