December 10, 2012 · 3:33 am
Brother and sister,
together as friends,
Ready to face
whatever life sends.
Joy and laughter
or tears and strife.
Holding hands tightly
as we dance through life.Suzie Huitt
Flying over New Mexico on my way to Phoenix, I peer through the airplane’s small window, taking in the vastness of the red rocks below. I’m going home to the desert. To the funeral of my brother’s son.
People in my life keep leaving. They move away or change. Or die. Sometimes they stop answering my calls. Abruptly, they’re just gone. I don’t know why this keeps taking me by surprise or why the blow to my heart doesn’t diminish with its recurrence. I’ve been collecting losses and abandonment along my path like souvenirs on a trip.
I can’t seem to find my way through the loss. Pain, heavy and suffocating, has set up residence in my chest. Not long ago, one sister lost her husband to cancer. Around the same time, a close friend died from suicide. My heart–the organ that pumps my blood and the seat of my emotions–hurts from so much grief. And now, this precious boy, not yet 21, is gone. He was only eight years old the last time I saw my nephew. Maybe it was I who abandoned him.
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Filed under Aging, Family, Growing Up, Loss, Siblings
Tagged as Aging, brother, death, Family, funeral, Love, motherhood, siblings, Suicide
October 10, 2012 · 3:41 am
And so lying underneath those stormy skies
She’d say, oh, I know the sun must set to rise.
Paradise by Coldplay
~For Richard, Heidi and Gabriel~
It was Sunday afternoon. The weekend that seemed to stretch out enticingly before me on Friday was, for all intents and purposes, over. I sat on the couch, mindlessly surfing Facebook, playing Angry Birds. I had the ‘Sunday blues,’ that restless dissatisfaction that strikes around 5:00 p.m. when the realization that a weekend filled with relaxation and leisure is just not going to materialize. This happens frequently. My days get filled with grocery shopping, running kids to activities, projects at home, work issues, and other mundane tasks. My fun time gets relegated to Saturday night after the kids go to bed and I pass out halfway through a movie.
I felt a shift coming in the weather foretold by the pounding headache that stormed my skull. Sitting alone I looked out the window at the gathering clouds and malaise settled over me as I thought with a sigh how the girls would be home shortly. I’d have to get up from this couch to start the nighttime routine: wrangle up dinner, corral kids into the shower and herd them to bed. I’d go through Friday folders (Sunday night folders, let’s be real) and look ahead to everyone’s schedules, gearing up for another busy week.
But that was all before I got the news that my brother-in-law had died. Just 45 minutes earlier, while I was lamenting the end of the weekend, he’d taken his last breath and given up the battle he’d waged to the finish. Though he and my sister were separated, in the end, their differences didn’t matter. The strife and tension between them healed spontaneously on his journey from this plane to the next. When cancer took over his body, she took him into her home. She tended to his dying and in the process found forgiveness. Her focus was on creating lasting memories for her son, their son. He is seven, my nephew, much too young to lose his father. And his father, much too young to lose his life.
Richard suffered in pain and struggled for every breath. He had not come peacefully to his death. The denial tortured both he and Heidi. When his agitation became too great, the meds gave relief and he drifted in a morphine-induced fog. My sister lay down with her husband, pressing her body to his, her mouth to his ear.
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Filed under Family, Letting Go, Loss, Marriage, Siblings, Sisterhood, Special Needs
Tagged as #death, Cancer, dying, Family, hospital, Husband, illness, Love, marriage, motherhood, Sisters, Suicide, Wife