The false alarms ceased.
Last Monday night, the 27th, my older sister, the second oldest of us kids, passed away.
Surrounded by those who loved her the most, and the ones she loved so dearly, the meds were shut off and she drifted off into a sleep and then away from us all.
I wasn’t ready for the feelings of loss. I wasn’t ready to see her kids and grandkids feel her loss. I wasn’t ready for the reality, the tears, and the funeral.
Between her death and her burial was the funeral of my uncle. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. I still not sure how to capture the emotions, to make them make sense. I can’t nicely tuck away the hurt, the anger, or the sadness. I also know life must go on. I really don’t want it to.
I hate that so many around me don’t have to deal with it. Even within minutes of learning of her death, I had to endure smiles and laughter around me. Almost too much to bear.
My sister is gone. Never to hear her voice. Never to read her crazy facebook posts. Never to finally spend those moments remembering back when. Back when we were kids. Back when we were young parents. Or now, now that were old parents.
I couldn’t find the words to share this past week. Forgive me. I still don’t exactly know the words to share now.
My sister was a hell raiser. She burst out from our Mormon upbringing and broke all the rules. She drifted in and out of our lives as trouble came and went in hers. She live in, what seemed to me, chaos but brought out of it five wonderful nieces and nephews for us all to share.
Her last days were good and bad, as the ICU goes. Would she make it, would she not? Some moments it felt like minutes left, others like she would be done with it all and be ready to go home and on to the next concert.
Her last night, however, was mine.
After sending the exhausted other people home to get rest, I promised to stay with her through the night and to stay up for her should she need anything, or should something change. Everyone left.
For the next several hours, my sister and I visited, just the two of us, in-between her sleeping episodes. We talked of old times, we spoke of new times, and we laughed at the stupid late night hokie westerns on the TV. She seemed strong, ready to beat this thing, and she made me believe during that long night that there would be others. There wouldn’t be.
In the early morning, things turned. She wasn’t quite as with it. The doctors words weren’t so encouraging. Her voice got lighter and her breathing got heavier.
That afternoon and into the evening, she said her good byes to everyone individually- although at times we weren’t sure if she thought maybe it was just good night she was syaing. She told the group, “I love you all.” And all sounded back, “we love you too”.
And then she was gone from our lives.
My uncle’s funeral was a short, graveside service only- as he requested. The military sent him off with a gun-fire salute, taps, and a presentation of the colors to his son.
My sister was memorialized two days later in tears but with laughter as we reminisced and shared our version of her with everyone else.
I don’t feel either summed up who these people were and what they meant to us. But how can any service do that?
It just doesn’t seem right that life without them just goes on.
Post # 4-007