grief · life after loss · my heart · my sister · unconditional love

Something changed.

Around my sister’s birthday, we would always do something. We never really had a set in stone plan. (Well except me having to make her homemade donuts.) That birthday, we were both knocked up so we opted to just hang out at my house. A day full of sun, kids everywhere, sprinklers, grubbing. Really a typical day at my house during summer. We were at a “normal” phase that was amazing. I didn’t know at the time for sure, but I had a feeling those “normal” days would soon be very limited. So I pushed my “Kate you just to serious” thoughts to the back of my mind to just let go to enjoy this time we did have.

A few weeks later, our father feel ill. He was admitted to ICU very early Sunday morning hooked up to tubes, monitors, etc. Monday morning when I walked in, the nurse pulled me to the side. She said we needed to have the “talk” about my dad. I hadn’t even seen my dad yet. I listened to the nurse. There was surrealness to the situation. The background was a soft white. Almost angelic in appearance. The softness. The haze. It was silent. No beeps. Nothing. There was sterileness to it. I contacted my siblings.

I will admit that once I saw my dad, I knew it was over. He had been sick on and off for a while. He had given up. His room was heavy, crushing, so sad. He was there. His presence was in the room but no longer in that body. I sat there and then, alone, crying, talking to my dad. Really?? Now?? Sigh. At least it was warm out right? At least you waited til after the twins’ birthday.

The twins…Oh god..how am I going to sit here like this with my sister?? How the hell will I make it through that???

With that thought a weight heavier than anything I have ever experienced  in my life pressed down on my body. A torrential down pour of water escaped my eyes soaking my shirt. Sobs erupted from my chest. All track of time eluded me. I felt like it had only been moments. But quite a bit of time had pasted.

My sister showed up, walked into the waiting room I was in, sat next to me,pulling me to her. I am not one for physical contact. That was always her. There with a hug, a pat on the arm, etc.

“Kate, don’t you pull away from me.”

“How am I going to do this? God I am not ready for this! How will I ever be? I love you so much. The annoying phone calls, (insert emotional hormonal  my dad is dying my sister has cancer ramblings) ”

“Kate, when it’s time, we will both know”

At this moment, we shifted. Something changed. Reality, the finite of death, settled on both of us.

Our dad died that Tuesday.

That night, her and I were in the hospital hallway together. One brother was in the room with dad. Others were coming off the elevator. In the moments we were alone, she got in my face, grabbed my chin and with the strongest, most determined tone my sister had EVER taken with me, she said:

“I don’t want you there for this part.”

“But-” (She gripped my face tighter. She made her serious face)

“I don’t want you there for this part.”

She moved away from me.

My father’s death freed my emotions to love more openly. That one sentence from my sister upped the intensity of those emotions. I never again turned down a hug or kiss. I never gave her a hard time about how openly affectionately she was. I even started to hug back harder, more, hold on longer. I didn’t hold back any more.

Now, it hurts beyond anything imaginable. I miss her so much. Nobody can hug like her. Nobody will ever feel the way she did. The squeeze. The tightness. The warmth. The love. The extra squeeze at the end. But I know without any doubt that I have no regrets. We loved with no reserves. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

Where there is great loss, there was great love.

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