Grief Day 11 – Still Just As Painful (so, when does it subside?)

So many emotions and with each day IThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde po...‘m surprised at who comes out of my reflection.  Honestly, I just don’t know; is it gonna be Jekyll or Hyde (or both)?  Or maybe their twin sisters?  I’ve made a promise to keep myself far from anyone that might take offense at my outbursts for I just don’t know.  And the people, they mean well; but they say and do some of the oddest of things.  There are these friends of my sisters that, though I realize they’ve lost their dear friend, I’m a gassed and their self-contentedness.  They say things like, “what we should do with the ceremony is…”  Or, “we should really keep the testimonies down to a minimum as others might want to say something…”

Really!  My sister, Elizabeth and I actually had a chuckle as she said, “don’t they realize who they are talking to?  I mean, they are dealing with Amelia Mattison MacGregor’s daughters; that should be license enough, don’t you think?”  And we are; we are our mother’s daughters, we will not only plan an event, but we will have everything cooked, cut, plated and ready to serve in plenty of time.  As an example; for Kimball’s wedding our mother made (hand-made) Swedish meatballs.  Enough to feed a few hundred people (it was a lot of meatballs!); and they weren’t those huge, three/four bite sized meatballs you might find in an Italian restaurant either… these were tiny, bites size (Amelia MacGregor mouth size) meatballs; and all hand rolled to boot!

Yep, we are our mother’s daughters.  [sigh]  Like I said, I know that they mean well and want to help.  Everyone wants to help, I don’t want to take away from  that; and I guess that is where Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and their twin sisters come in; I just don’t know when/where they’re going to pop up.  I find that I get so upset over the most menial circumstances or words (it’s absurd!)

So, what do you do?  I can’t go on keeping myself from everyone.  I’m not my sister, I don’t have an ‘edit’ button’; not anymore.  There was a time when I was the master of diplomacy.  I remember when bosses depended on me for that trait.  What happened?  Well, a great deal happened.  My mom, my marriage; alcoholism (marriage/brother), my sister’s cancer.  It was just too much stuff and I never (NEVER) took the time to take time off or was able to take a time out.  And so, here I am; I’m forced to take this time to “deal” with the stuff that is coming up (whether I like it or not).There were a great many months spent dealing with Kimball’s health and I guess much of this started when I was called back the morning of her surgery and the surgeon wasn’t sure he could move forward for fear of the “infection”.   One look and I thought, “infection!”  Looking straight at her Infectious Disease doctor.  While in the hall I asked him, “what, pray tell would make you think, after looking at that, that that was an ‘infection’?”  To which he muttered how imperfect medicine was.  I was panicked, furious, frightened; while at the same time I knew in that moment, my sister’s fate had turned.  I also knew I couldn’t say anything, not to her friends who were waiting for me in the lobby, and not to my family.  I could eventually try to convey the seriousness of the situation to my family; but, I knew that unless they saw with their own eyes, only then would they be able to gabble at the seriousness of our sisters situation.

No, I knew long before the doctors were willing to ever state anything to Kimball, the imminence of her fate.  This grew even clearer when the fluid collected on her lungs and I was being trained to drain them.  And even then, I succumb to the wistfulness of my sister and that all was going to be fine and she was going get well.

So much for a person to shoulder; yet I did.  And for this I am proud; however, one regret remains and perhaps that is what stands in the way of my deliverance from remorse into solace.  That being in her final days I depended on the doctor giving her a clear picture of the situation.  I expected it to be like that of a movie (Terms Of Endearment), where the doctor comes in and says “dear you have a malignancy…”

But, such as life, this was not a movie and that never happened.  At least, not until the day before her death when it came from a nurse on staff.  This brave soul, this wonderful woman sat with my sister and told her the truth (something I should have done weeks before, but lacked the courage to do).  I just couldn’t bring myself to break her spirit, to let her down.  I couldn’t do that and now, wish I had.  She deserved to know the truth from me, not to guess what was happening and to live in fear of the questions circling her mind.  She deserved to know and to have those moments to write the notes she wanted to write, or to make the calls she wanted to make.  And I robbed her of that.  I’m not sure I can forgive myself of that.

So, where does this leave me?  I don’t know.  I will learn to forgive myself and I will learn from this.  But to you, my readers?  I hope this is teaching you to NOT take the easy way.  When something needs to be said, don’t wait for someone else to say it (be it a doctor, or friend, brother or sister); SAY it!  Life is short; oh so much shorter than you know.  And those moments you think will be just around the corner;  those moments could be gone in a flash.

‘I Love You’ are three little words; yet, they are the toughest three words to say.  Most will go a life time without ever saying them or hearing them.  Do me a favor, say them to those you love.  Say them today; NOW.  Don’t wait.  They are just 3 little words.  And (here’s the trick), the more you say them, the easier they come out.  Give ’em a try; you will never be disappointed, I promise.

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4 thoughts on “Grief Day 11 – Still Just As Painful (so, when does it subside?)

  1. My father died on the 27th January this year after a long and tiring year in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. We were all exhausted by the end of it, as dad said one day – this dying is hard work. He made it clear after Christmas that there would be no more hospitals which meant sitting by his bedside for over a week watching and waiting for him to die. I have two sisters and a brother and a mother and we all handled it differently. My oldest sister was the doer, organized everything and bossed us all around but fell apart in a tremendous and most concerning way after the funeral. She has been very cranky at everyone, intolerant of people and the stupid things they say thinking they are comforting you. I can let it roll over me although it’s awkward when someone asks me how he is and I say he died and they start crying and I have to stand there thinking – ummmmmm, while they get it together. I miss him very very much and I lie in bed at night and think -how about that, he’s dead, he’s really dead!! It surprises me every time. I have some regrets as well. I wish I had of fought the hospital harder way back in march last year but they were such a pack of bastards and they were hard to fight. I know deep down we fought for him as hard as we could but I still feel we let him down. They told dad one day that he was not viable for rehabilitation, what should we do then I said, put him down! Anyway, I’ve high jacked your blog it appears but I felt your pain. Just keep stumbling on.

    • Dearest Jane, Wow! You too…this is so very close and I can feel it in your post. I am grateful to readers such as yourself for you comfort me in such a way that you make me realize that I’m not alone. I guess the point of this is that we could have done everything ‘right’; but the question being; what is ‘right’? There is no right way. There really is no hand book on how to handle life’s trials and perhaps that is how God intended. For, perhaps there in lies the lesson. All we can do is what we know to be the best each day we live through the tumultuous situation; that being ‘one day at a time’.
      Thank you for your share, I so appreciate these heartfelt shares from my readers as it brings me out of my own and helps me realize other’s live this every day. Each in our own way and all in different circumstances (some slightly better, some far worse), but all just as life changing none the less.
      I will live and learn my way through this. Often, when I’m quiet in meditation, I feel my sister with me still; guiding me.

      Thank you again for sharing your experience and my condolences to you. This is never easy, however I do believe all is worth the learning.

      Bless you and blessing to your family.

      Nora

  2. Your sister did get to write those notes, I received one! I knew at the time what it meant and it raised my level of concern greatly. I also knew she had great care in that you were there as was Elizabeth. My one regret is that my health prevented me from acting on intuition to visit Kimball’s bedside.
    Now you must live in the present. Of course hind sight is 20/20 and one always has regrets, but use the past as a platform to embrace the present and form your actions now. Remember Kimball’s memorial service is for the family to plan, friends should be gracious visitors. If her friends want a special service they should plan one! Be Amelia-firm, graciously accept all suggestions, then do it your way!!!
    You will live through this experience and continue to become the kind, caring, compassionate that you are. Expressions of love and caring do not come easily to our family, but we seem to be getting better with each generation. Let’s make the transformation complete and allow love to be the focus!!!
    Love you – Claire

    • Dearest Clair, How right you are “hind sight is 20/20”, and isn’t that always the case? Almost as if divinely planned. Why? Seems so cruel; then, when you think of it, we are the only ones who hold ourselves to such a ‘high’ standard. God, on the other is simply looking at this and saying, “ok, you did your best; better than most in your situation. Now go and love/live.”
      You’re right in that we must live in the present and continue; which I will, in time. I’m a person of reflection (always have been). My nose was never in the books, instead it was in the clouds; dreaming.
      Thank you for the kind words of wisdom and loving message. For me, this Blog is my release for every key stroke allows me to breath out all the stresses and regrets and to see what I feel in a different light.

      Love you too Sweetie… so very much.

      Nora

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