29 February, 2020

Really, I'm Not ONLY About Death

As you know, I took my time getting back into reality this past month. I'm lucky that I have the kind of life where I could take the time. I did a lot of nothing - yoga, reading, coloring, playing stupid games on my phone. Finally I opened my Nanowrimo manuscript and started re-reading it. Doggone-it, it's good! I mean, it needs a ton of work, so it still may turn out to be nothing if I can't figure it all out. I left a lot of holes in my push to get words on the page in November.

I started back into it over a week ago, very slowly. I'm beginning in earnest, reading and doing minor edits, plus filling in all the gaping holes in the manuscript. It's something. Life seems a bit more like normal again.

As I was messaging with my big brother recently, I got to considering how the same death is different for everyone. He lost his son (to suicide) in the fall, and his sister last month. Our sister's death leaves him as the eldest sibling. You wouldn't think it makes a difference, but in a family with five kids, birth order becomes a part of your identity.

I should think that, if one could quantify grief, his must be the hardest. Of course you can't quantify it. How close was he with my sister? But then, his son... There's no standard.

And then again, when his son died, I know it hit our younger brother hard. He had just recently lost an Army buddy to suicide and was already trying to cope with that. So although it was "just" his nephew, it came at a time when he was already dealing with grief. The sister who died last month was, I believe, the only one of us that little brother communicated with openly. Even then, he didn't do it often - man of few words, he is - but still. If she's the main one who checked in on him, and she's gone, and so soon after all the rest of it, what must he be going through?

Of course, my living sister and I both lost our closest sister. We do not get along terribly well. We do fine for short gatherings, but more than a day together is a strain. Our eldest sister was a bridge between us. The three of us could get together and have a good time. I feel like I should be closer to my living sister now, but you can't force a relationship, and neither one of us can fill the gap left. So this recent death was super hard on her. But I can't imagine her thoughts at the death of our nephew - just six months younger than her own son. How worried is she about her own child now?

Many years ago, a friend of mind lost one of her sons to a freak accident. He was on foot, hit by a car. (This all happened years before I met her.) It took years before her cloud lifted, and even today you can see how the grief of losing a son colors her attitudes on social media. It's a part of her. 

I think it becomes a part of each of us. Hopefully not to the point of defining us, but what if it does? 

For my part, I think I've returned to life fairly quickly. I know that although things will be different, I'm okay. Others might not be. 

This is why we should always be kind. 
I understand the meme a lot better now.

13 February, 2020

Not A Real Post

This isn't a real post. It's nothing.

It occurred to me as I poured my second vodka-tonic of the afternoon, that after my last six months - nephew's suicide, sister unexpectedly dropping dead, and... well, that's enough, I think! - I'm entitled to a little self-medication. Bring on the booze!

Aside from that (I wasn't exactly a teetotaler before), I'm emerging from the fog... exactly one month from the day my sister died. Dropped dead. I like that phrase, because it's true. And it conveys the surprise that accompanied her death.

After a month of numb, I feel like rejoining the blogosphere. 
I might revamp my blog though. Give it a focus. 
Personal bull-crap only takes me so far. 

Especially when the grim reaper takes over.
Two days ago, Brett was teaching and sent me a message from his office to check in with his brother. He'd received a message from someone who was an undertaker in the town they grew up in. My heart was in my throat. Dear God, NO! Brett's brother said nothing was up that he knew of, and that that guy who used to be an undertaker, was now a banker. Turns out, he just wanted to ask about the Coronavirus from someone in the region. (We're fine.)

The grim reaper is hovering over my life now, just laughing. 

Seriously though, I've finally reached out to my remaining family members, just checking in. I've decided to start writing letters. Not real letters, because I no longer trust international postal services, but through email. At least to my mom. So I reached out to her.

I reached out to my brother to see how he's doing as the eldest sibling.

I reached out to my living sister, who's not too chatty. I wonder how she's doing, because she's the one who has a son the same age as my nephew who took his own life last fall. Our sister's death weighed on her, as she took on the "big sister" mantle and rushed out to Michigan to help as soon as she heard.

I reached out to my niece, who just lost her mother, and is going bridal shopping this coming weekend. The heart just breaks. (My living sister was already going to help with dress-shopping. She has awesome fashion sense.)

Last week, I actually had quite a healing conversation unexpectedly. Brett and I were out and ran into another friend. I was able to simply talk about what happened and the events of our week in the US, and how it affected me and the others I saw. It was good. I need to write that stuff down.

In fact, I think I'll go find a spot to sit and write about it.
Told you this post was nothing.