Sister Hole

botanical garden 037-2

My sister died yesterday of a brain aneurysm. My editing of the photo from my last post is crude but death isn’t pretty and leaves us survivors feeling a bit beat up. There is a gaping hole filled only with jumbled memories of a lifetime. I like closure but the hours and days after a death leave me adrift. I’m exhausted but feel a need to do something.

Have you experienced the subtle changes that take place in families with each death. We three sisters lost our father, but mom was there to keep everyone up to date on family happenings. When she died I felt that burden shift to my shoulders – holding the family together. I didn’t do a very good job because – well, staying connected is hard work, we don’t live in the same town, and I hate making phone calls. They didn’t call me either. When I did connect with each of them our first laughter was always about how much we hate talking on the phone and then we talk for a couple of hours. There is a lot of catching up to do when we haven’t connected for a year or two.

We loved each other, gone sister and me. We knew we were there for each other even though some people would say we weren’t very close. But those people are basing their conclusion on external demonstrations of love. We didn’t have to share our every problem to know that the other cared. We just do and we know that we do. That’s enough.

I finally found and connected with sister three to tell her. She had been in South Dakota and was driving across Minnesota. They are figuring how to make it to the memorial. We saw them on our drive home from out west but I really need to see her and hug her now. I remember my Grandma saying to me, after a death of someone important to her, that everyone was gone. I wanted to say, “But you have me.” Now I am understanding that lonely feeling – sister three and I are the only ones left of our childhood family.

It is the same with all the cousins. I’ve contacted most of them and made sure they contacted some others. I don’t see them often but look forward to seeing them at the memorial. Another indication that life changes – we used to see each other at graduations and weddings but now it is deaths. All the aunts and uncles have died so we are the older generation. I remember great aunts and uncles and how old they were as they sat together at family celebrations. Funny, but the cousins I look forward to sitting with aren’t nearly as old but we are the next generation to die. Sister is cousin number two. We will talk about how that shakes us up. And we will be glad we are together.

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Categories: Relationships

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72 Comments »

    • Thank you so much. With the holiday and the memorial service it is going to be very busy so I am making sure I get good sleep and plenty of down time. Your prayers and hugs will help a lot. I’m tired right now and they will help me fall asleep fast and to sleep soundly.

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  1. I can so identify with what you’ve written. Family doesn’t keep in touch that much anymore and texting – which I do not do and Facebook which isn’t a thing I do often – seem to be the way to stay connected. We disconnect and only death seems to bring everyone together. Then, after the pain is over, it starts again. SSSooo sad but the new reality of life,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Even with the way things were between all of you, the loss is just as painful. Memories of the life lived together during the years you grew up replace the distant years. Your heart will always have a space for her to reside in along with your memories.
    Healing Hugs and Blessings to you and your family.
    Isadora xoxo

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    • Yes, there will always be a place for my sister in my heart. I am, however, having a hard time getting my mind around the fact that she isn’t where she is suppose to be. She isn’t in her home where my mind sees her best. But I know that will get better. Thanks again, Isadora.

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    • 🙂 Yes, there are unspoken responsibilities with being the oldest. But I do believe we grow up strong and capable. I hear your strength and intelligence in your posts. I will remember your sisterly advice to take care of myself as that is important.

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  2. Your heartfelt post reminded me of something I wrote from a 12-year-old boy’s perspective—Eddie, being the main character in a novel I’m writing: “Eddie hadn’t thought about The Accident in a long time, at least, not like this. It was really hard to think about. When you lose your dad like that, something goes away and never comes back. It’s like you’ve lost a part of yourself and you know nothing can ever quite be the same.”

    I sense that what you are feeling is not far from this expression and you have my deepest sympathy. Keep blogging; that will help.

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    • What you wrote nailed it. Thanks. I think that is one of the reasons I read – to have what I experience validated by the experiences of the characters. It helps to know that we are not alone and to know that what we experience is real. Thanks for your visit and your very kind and caring message.

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      • I think that’s why we all read, or watch TV or movies—to have our feelings validated and to know that we are not alone, because, even if the characters are fictional, the people who wrote them are not. To write, you must feel or the fakery becomes very evident. Best wishes to you and your sister.

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  3. Dear Pat,
    Am trying to catch up on my reading, and found this post. I am so sorry for your loss. You have expressed so well the feeling of loss, the dynamics of family. Am sending love and virtual hugs your way.
    Naomi

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    • Thank you so much, Naomi. Your comment is so timely – I have been struggling with the idea that my sister is no longer living. It is hard to get my mind around it. Your hugs feel really good. 🙂

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      • Dear Pat,
        I can’t even imagine. I can’t think that it’s something you get over quickly, or ever. I’m just glad that you have such strong relationships with your nuclear family to take comfort in. Thinking of you.
        Warmly,
        Naomi

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