“People are oft…
“People are often at their best when they are at their worst.” from the journals of J. Stilling – written while caring for her dying sister.
My first blog – and I’ve decided to quote myself! I can’t believe my sister died on April 15th, 2010 – the images are still etched into my brain as if it were just last night. My mom died just 5 months ago, and I can barely remember those scenes, but Terrie’s life, illness, and death are clearly imbedded into my consciousness as unique as dental records. Perhaps the brain can only hold so much death. After all – my brother died between those two deaths.
Was I at my best when these loved ones were dying? Of course. Do I feel this way all the time? No! I often feel guilty or shallow, or self-centered or lost or dark or empty. But I am 100% certain that I was the best I could be in those moments considering the circumstances.
The above quote is more about the people I watched die – especially Theresa Marie Stilling born March 7, 1957 – my only sister. My older sister by 7 years. Not that the others didn’t die with tremendous grace and dignity, but my sister’s death (and life) hooked me in. I was there – on the firing lines. I was there for the others, but my brain won’t let me keep those scenes in the same way. Maybe Terrie’s death was just too big, or maybe I am still sorting through the lessons of that one to make room for the others or maybe this is simply where I am on this snowy morning in March!
My sister’s illness came on so suddenly and in the midst of an already heavy phase of life. Her son was in the throes of addiction, and that alone was infiltrating every aspect of her life and of our relationship. In fact the morning I received the call that she was admitted to the hospital – I refused the call.
It was in June of 2009 and I was with a meditation group about to enter the silence of a 30 minute meditation. I saw the number and turned my phone off thinking it was some drama about my nephew. An hour later, I heard the words “Leukemia Blasts” in the blood. I was worried – since I do that so well, but I had no idea the nightmare that was to follow.
I guess this blog is about that today. The fact that 3 years later I still have these memories. That 3 years later I have not only buried my sister, but my brother, and my mother, and I am still here – being my best self. That 3 years later I am working, tending to a marriage, raising teen girls, working, praying, cleaning the house, working, reaching out to others, tending to friendships, working, stressing, dealing with menopause, working through anxiety, working, meditating, talking, accepting I’m a workaholic, and now writing.