Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Trying to stream...

It's feeling a bit like a trickle right now. But alas, I shall continue trying.

I just read my daughter's most recent blog post. She bravely wrote this wonderful little slice of her heart on the 11th. She's been telling me about her post and I've spent the better part of a week not paying that much attention to it. Tonight, she cornered me.

She'd just come home from a friend's house and I was sending an email to my friend in Malta. I wanted to share my silliness in describing to her, in very short order, the last 6 months or so of life in this crazy house of ours. After I finished sharing, Cass begged me to log into MySpace and check out her blog.

She said she wanted to watch me read it. Of course, there's NO PRESSURE when the sweetest thing in your life wants to Watch you Read their Work. Well, she's amazing. I think that goes without saying more and more everyday. Totally had me bawling as she recalled some of her memories of my sister's life and subsequent death.

She remembers what she was wearing. She remembers the weather. She remembers everything. I do too, but it was heartbreaking to see her memories and her recollection in her own words. Her pain is real and she expresses it in ways different than I do.

We are different. I don't pretend to think we're not, but sometimes I'm especially impressed with our differences. The way she remembers things. She makes me want to remember things her way.

It makes me want to not remember the 30 minutes that I watched Michelle struggle to hang onto every last breath. It makes me want to forget the way her jaw sat crooked on her face. To forget how long she held the last breath she took here. Hearing my brother say to the silence that filled the room as she exhaled, "Welcome Home." To forget taking her bracelets off her cold, stiff wrist, wishing all the while that I would have taken them off in the days before she was gone.

In the midst of my wanting to remember things differently, I am drawn to my own memories of her. I wish and wish that the memories I have are less about the frustrations of having a sister like Michelle. She was always right. She was always the older sister. She always struggled with her weight. She always leaned on me and expected me to learn from her. She paraded me around her college campus and used me to draw boys to her. There were times when I loved the attention and times when I felt so out of place I wanted to scream and run away. I remember the car accident she got us into on our way home from the campus one snowy weekend. I remember that dang Chevette of hers. Pushing it about 10 miles trying desperately to get the clutch to work so we could get home. The secrets she told me that I will take to my grave. The gifts she would give me that always seemed to sappy and sister-y.

Among these memories, I've learned (since not having her here) to filter in enormous amounts of guilt on myself. I can heap it on by the pound. I wish that I had taken the time to learn more from her. To notice her gradual decline. To be more considerate. I wish I had appreciated her half as much as she appreciated me. I wish she was here for me to buy sister-y gifts for. I wish she was here to dress me up in clothes she was "gonna buy when I (she) get skinny." I wish I had been a better sister to her.

I wish I didn't feel so bad about "talking to her". It seems weird to me to talk to a dead person. Like it's against the rules. I don't want to pray to her, but that's kind of how it feels when I think about talking to her. I want to tell her that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that she was so sick and I couldn't make it stop. I'm sorry that I was frustrated with her. With the responsibility of her. I'm sorry that her last conscious words were, "Did I do good enough?" I wish that there was something I could have to done in all that time that I had to let her know that she was. To convince her that she was and so much more. I ache so deeply about that. Did I do good enough? How horrible to go into a coma that you knew was coming and you knew you weren't going to wake up from wondering that?

I'm sitting here drowning in my own snot and tears. I miss her so much. My heart breaks inside every single minute that I let myself think about it. So, I don't very often. I try to plug along. I try to make myself believe that I don't think about her that often. But if I'm honest, the cold undercurrent of every minute of my day is sadness. And probably anger.

There are those who think I should really talk about that anger. Try writing about it, they say. Um, no thanks. Certainly not in a place where anyone could ever even accidentally wander upon it. My fear and my anger sit painfully close to each other in my very guarded heart. Fear that I'll find something in my anger that I don't want to find. Fear that I'll have to really know what all the anger is. Anger at my fear. Fear that no one will love me if they know. The Real Me. The really angry Me. The Me that I don't want to really know.

Why do I always get so dark when I start spilling? Dark in my heart and wet on my cheeks, nose, chin, and shirt?


  1. I believe your sister knew how much you loved her, and, if she could have, would have said you did "more than good enough." You love her deeply and without restraint, what could be better?

    With dealing with my nephew's death, the anger I felt made me realize how little I really trusted God. It made me doubt my own faith. But at the end of it? He was still there, waiting for me to just curl up in HIS lap and cry a while. Today, Camden would be turning 4. But hey, a birthday party in Heaven must be amazing, so I'm glad he's there.

  2. Lisa (the girls' moma)January 19, 2007 at 5:07 PM

    Isn't it weird to remember things that bug you? My mom lost her sister 4 years ago and is irritated when people remember her as perfect. "She was my sister--she WASN'T perfect!" There are people who would think this is terrible, but I think it is rather healthy. Don't think otherwise.

    Glad you can share here. Your writing really will be helpful. And those of us who can admit to our own darkness truly do try to understand.

    Wet shirts? Not from the wetter? Better throw 'em in the dry-er.