We have had quite a month. I got engaged (insert wild, wonderful clapping here) and my dad almost died—twice. Without re-hashing multiple details, it’s been tough on K. He and my dad are very close and knowing that Grandpa has an “owie” took its toll on him.
On the second trip to the ER within 2 weeks for another emergency surgery, I had to take K with me. I have tried to keep him away from these kinds of things, but on our way out of my parents house, my mom fell really hard and I was worried that she might have to be admitted to the hospital as well, so we all jumped in our cars and headed over to the ER. *Being an only parent, with no back up parent sucks. Just sayin’!*
After about an hour—my mom was fine and they were going to rush my dad into surgery for a bypass surgery on his leg. They needed to move fast to save his leg. Since they were on their way into surgery, K couldn’t go back and hug my dad. He was only able to blow him a kiss and tell him he loved him from afar.
K immediately had a breakdown. Now, mind you, it wasn’t a meltdown—he didn’t throw a tantrum, he just had big crocodile tears and kept asking me why he couldn’t go kiss Grandpa and hug him. With that look of confusion and sadness and worry on his face, I broke down too. It’s so confusing for my son—he still has real abandonment issues and kept saying, “But what if I can’t see him again. I didn’t get to give him a kiss and tell him I loved him in his ears!” I tried to re-assure him that we would talk to him later than evening. I also said, “let’s pray for him right now Baby! He’s gonna be fine! Really!!!?!?!?!”
As we exited the ER and started walking to our car he started really crying. I stopped him and tried to talk to him about it. I said something to the effect of, “You know, we can… You know, I know he’s going to be ok! You can talk to me about anything you are feeling Baby, right?!… Baby, come here, let me…”. He looked me dead in my eye and said, “Mommy, don’t try to fix it. Just let me be sad.” I was proud, shocked and sad all at the same time. I was glad that he could vocalize that he didn’t want me to fix it—there wasn’t any fixing that I could do for him at that moment. All I said was, “Do you want to sit down on the curb and just hang out for a minute?” He nodded and that’s what we did. The very kind 18-year-old valet attendant brought us a few tissues and left us alone.
I kept my eye on him, but allowed him space to just cry and process all that had just happened. I know that his tears were for more than just the last hour we had endured. And I can only imagine what was going on in that little, brave, smart head of his. As a parent, I want to take that kind of nervousness and pain away, but I also know that I do him no favors by not allowing him to feel and process and be sad about things like worrying about not seeing his favorite person again.
Once he said, “Ok Mama, I’m ready to go home!” I stood up, hugged him, and told him I loved him. I didn’t say, “Do you wanna talk about it.” I didn’t say, “You feel better?!” I just let him know, with my actions, that I was there. He wiped his face and put his hand out for me to take it.
Walking hand in hand to the parking structure, I did what any great parent (*insert sarcasm) does—I asked him if he wanted to go eat fast food!!! We headed to Del Taco to stuff our faces and head home to wait for news about my dad!
Sometimes, just sitting on the curb and crying your eyes out is the best way to “fix” things. *And then go binge eat on Del Taco—that helps too!
For anyone who knows me, there are several things that I don’t talk a lot about. I don’t put my business in the street. I don’t talk about family stuff with very many people. Why would I? Everyone has a jacked up family, right? But last week my sister died. My family dynamic has always been a little caddy-wompus, but even with our guilt ridden childhoods based around religion and addiction and strict discipline, we loved each other. But you can’t blame your childhood for stuff once you are an adult, right?! As a parent, I know that this guy didn’t come with any instructions for perfection. I am doing the best I can, right now, with what I’ve got! So, having said that, we aren’t a perfect family, but then again, whose is? We haven’t always been wonderfully generous and kind and quick to forgive one another, but again, I ask, who has?
My sister and I weren’t what I would call close. We are 6 year apart in age, so by the time I was around 12, she had already moved out of the house and was at college. I don’t know that we even really had a relationship until I went to college as well! When I was 21, I got engaged to a drug dealing, gang banger who was my whole world. I was so in love with him and couldn’t see strait. All I wanted was him. I wanted the whole world to love him as much as I did. They didn’t. She was the only person who celebrated my engagement—thus making her my new BFF at the time. When I called off my wedding and walked away from that relationship, she supported me. When she wanted to sell her cute townhome that I was totally in love with, she offered it to me. I was able to buy it from her and her family. What a blessing that was!!! It’s the home I own and currently live in with my son. Our life, as sisters, has taken many twists and turns. But at the end of the day, we were sisters.
I don’t know what I would have said to her differently. It had been quite some time since we had talked. It helped that she lived several states away. Life choices made me feel that I had no choice but to keep my distance. I don’t regret any of that. But I am sad for how her life ended. I am sad, most of all, for her kids and my parents. My parents are broken like nothing I have ever seen. All I can do, is be there for them. All I can do is continue to pray for them. All I can do is continue to love them and allow them to go through this.
I am now choosing to celebrate the vivid, awesome, outgoing, fun, sassy, smart, funny, loud drug free, alcohol free, sober version of my sister. I want to remember the amazing Doctor she was. I am choosing to remember the great Mom she was. I desire to remember the funny, goofy girl who was obsessed with hair and nails. I desire to remember the person, who laughed out loud a lot; who was a loyal friend. I am remembering the swimmer, the lover of life, the woman who dreamed big. I don’t negate the other sides to her. I don’t condone those other sides. Part of our rift was that I wouldn’t enable or co-dependent those other sides either. Hell, those are the sides that led to her early death. Three husbands and three kids later, she is dead.
Sissy, my final prayer for you is that you can finally rest in peace. I will see you on the other side. I just know I will.
I am thankful for family—by blood or by choice. K and I are so blessed with so many friends who we consider and call family. Our lives are also very full of enormous amounts of love from biological family. We are truly grateful!