Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bittersweet

When I was a girl, we spent every weekend hanging out with our family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...the whole clan. In the summertime we would go fishing and picnicing below the dam or on the creek where us kids would swim in lifejackets and tennis shoes and down ice cold Orange Crush from the cooler. When the weather turned colder we would usually meet at my grandparents house. The adults gathered round the dining room table and played some raucous games of Rook and dominos. My cousins and I played with the rusty, metal cars and trucks Grandma bought at a garage sale for us. What wonderful, happy memories for me.

Several years ago my parents moved in across the street from my sister. Hubby and I would go down almost every weekend. My sister, her husband and children, my brother, my parents...we would cook and play and eat and take naps and play games. It was a bonding ritual patterned after those sweet childhood memories.

But things changed. My sister's husband got very sick and we all watched him wither away and die. It left a giant hole in our family. And because none of us handled it well, that giant hole became a chasm. The relationships suffered. And I have hated it. I have wanted the closeness for my own family. Children should know their grandparents. They should know their aunts and uncles. They should have those wonderful memories to comfort them and bring them a smile in life.

I have wanted it for myself, too. I need the support of my mother and older sister, who have gone this way before me. I want the relationship we can have now that I am an adult. My soul has been empty of that. And I have suffered because of it.

But today was like old times.

I took the day off from church and went to my sister's house. Mom and Dad came. My brother, too. We cooked together. We ate together. We laughed and reminisced together. My children ate too much dessert. Today all the walls were down and we just spent the day complaining about the heat, snapping at each other now and then, and doing nothing, but doing something. It was like rain on my parched heart.

Just before I started home, my sister helped me bathe my kids in her big, whirlpool bathtub, which the kids loved. As she dried Baby, she said, "It's been almost like normal today. I haven't really thought about it."

And I hadn't either.

But now I am. Tonight I play pictures of today in my mind. I see my sister holding my children, kissing their little cheeks and saying, "I love you. You know that, right?" more than once...more than twice. I see her stealing a kiss from her new husband and exchanging a knowing glance. I see her tapping her foot and humming a hymn. I see her joking with her boys and laughing around the table.

I feel her embrace, which feels so true and so overwhelmingly full. I hear her words in my ear about how much she loves me and my heart breaks. And I feel myself pull away inside. I want so much to be close to her, but now I fear the ending.

Please, God...

19 comments:

Bttrfly1976 said...

That was enough to break me into a million pieces. My heart breaks for you and it breaks for me. I am so sorry you are having to face this, so very sorry.

dcrmom said...

I can't imagine the heartbreak you and your family is facing. When will you have more information about your sister? Praying for you all.

tonya said...

My prayers are with you and your family.

shannon @ rocks in my dryer said...

When is your sister's surgery? Praying--

me said...

so now is the time to be closest...as much as it hurts.

Melzie said...

I hope and pray this is a beginning supermom, not an ending. We have a branch of the family estranged since the death of my nana, this is making me consider trying to contact them again. ((hugs)) to you. xoxo melzie

Diana said...

I don't even know what to say, please let your sister know we're thinking of her.
***More hugs***

LiteratureLover said...

I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful, fulfilling day with your family and especially your sister. I am praying that it will NOT be what they think it MIGHT be. Love ya!

Laura said...

My heart aches for you... my mom recently battled lung cancer (so far, she has won) and I found myself pulling away from her, because I was selfish and didn't want to get hurt as bad if the unthinkable happened. I am so sorry, more than words can say... I will be praying for you, and your family - you need each other now, even though that may hurt terribly.

heartsjoy said...

I am in tears. I can't imagine all you are going through. I am glad you had a day that was what you needed to fill your cup but I know the after time to think must be hard. Please know we love you girl.

humpty said...

Hugs to you and your whole family.

thebarefootpoet said...

Nobody wants cute sayings at a time like this. Just know we love you, we stand with you. Regardless of what comes next, savor that time with your family, and vow somewhere down deep inside to not let the gap get wider, but to find a way to continue closing it. I almost feel like I said too much. Love you.

jesprincess said...

Love you girl. I'm with LL. We are staying positive. Maybe everything will be fine. Either way, take a deep cleansing breath and know that God is with you and your family. I'll be praying.

Mama of 2 said...

Supermom --
As hard as it is treasure the moments like this Sunday's and make as many more of them as you can. I know you might not believe me at the moment but they will sustain you in the long run.
I lost my favorite Aunt about a 1 year an 1/2 ago and it still hurts that she's gone but my memories of all the times we spent together make me smile and I wish now that I had just a few more times to make more especially with my children.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your sister. Hugs to you both.

Michelle- This One's For The Girls said...

Please let us know when the surgery is--I know we all want to pray for her (and for you...)

Cheerio's on my butt? said...

You and I seem to be experiencing the same feelings. I hope that your sis is okay. Man, life gives beatings doesn't it? I will be thinking of you all.

joyfuljourney said...

Thank you for expressing your feelings so beautifully. I am so sorry. How precious of your sister to be so tender and giving with you and your family. No matter what happens, the memories of your sisters whispers to you and your kids will always have a special place in your heart. She sounds like a very special woman.

Heth said...

Oh Supermom. This post gave me goosebumpbs and tears. Family is so precious.

2boysmama said...

I found your blog via rocks in my dryer and wanted to email you privately but didn't find an email address on your blog.

Just wanted to let you know that this post helped me alot. I am dealing with the grief of losing my mother this year (she was only 58) and you post made me realize some things. So, just wanted to say, Thank you!