We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

So this first year we cannot do the same thing at the holidays as we did last year, it is just too painful. Mom and I were struggling to figure out what to do for pumpkins as the last couple of years we had found the cutest little pumpkin patch that was always empty. I remember last year sissy was on the fence about going, it was really cold, we had been out all day, she was exhausted and feeling shitty but she decided to join Beya, the kids and me. I will be forever grateful she did go because I got video of our drive home and we had so much fun, the kids were crazy and we were all laughing. I haven't watched it and I don't know if I will but at least I have it. Anyway, so Beya and I were trying to figure out what to do and the problem was solved for us; both kids went to a pumpkin patch that we had never been to for school. I was able to go with both of them (at different times) so it worked out. We're still unsure of what we'll do for Halloween, we have a few options. Every time I think of trick or treating I just want to cry because I remember last Halloween so vividly. There was much laughter and joking and candy and happiness, even in the midst of cancer. I'm so grateful to have these memories as my memory is pretty well shot now. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he said it's very normal that I have huge chunks of time missing. I keep thinking that it's the first of September, I keep stressing over figuring out what to do for Asa's birthday, I keep thinking Halloween is more than a month away and I can't remember what we did for any of the holidays this year.

I recently went through and read through some of my blog entries from earlier this year. Again I don't remember writing any of them but I can see how angry they are. I also went through and read every single comment that was left the day sissy died. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to write something. I didn't appreciate it at the time because I was in shock (still am) that I even had to read them and felt so alone. I still feel alone because I know that nobody can even come close to understanding or feeling what the 7 of us are feeling. But I now realize that it's no ones fault and I just lashed out. I'm angry that I have to have these feelings and some people can go their whole lives without ever having such a profound loss in their life but that's what happens. I still stand behind some of my earlier posts of people pissing me off when they tell me they know how I feel because they miss Trina too. No, no you don't know how I feel. And I still hate how everyone comes out of the woodwork when someone dies. Where were they during the 8 months she was sick? Where were they BEFORE she was sick? If Trina meant so much to them then why did it take her having cancer or dying for them to make contact with her? So I guess what I'm saying is thank you for all the kind comments and to all of you for trying to be there for us at a time when I push almost everyone away.

SO! On to pictures!!!!

Just before we left the house to meet up with Valentina's pre-school class at the pumpkin patch.

At the pumpkin patch.

On top of the hay bale pyramid that was about 25-30 feet tall.

Last week at the pumpkin patch with Asa and his class. He had so much fun! Asa developed a severe fear of being left behind or forgotten about two months after Trina died. I promised Asa that I will go on every field trip if at all possible because then he won't be worried about being left behind, he knows I'd never leave without him. I'm hoping with time and consistency he'll learn that he WON'T be forgotten.

I was sitting in the seat ahead of Asa and his friends when I snapped this picture of Asa Boy. I just love it! I was responsible for Asa and two other boys and they were really good. I almost felt sorry for some of the other mom's who got the unruly kids.....

So that's about it. We're dreading the holidays and have no idea what we will do. I have moments where I think I CAN do this and times when I think I can't breathe and will never survive. My psychiatrist asked me how I was doing and I answered him honestly, "I'm still here. I don't know how but I am." Several times throughout the day mom and I just look at each other blankly and say the same thing over and over, "it's just unbelievable."
Our lives are unbelievable. We will never stop being shocked. We will never understand. We will always cry. We will always miss her. We will always wonder why. We will always think "what if". We will always remember how things used to be. We will never be complete. I will never have my sister sit in the front passenger seat of my car. I will never listen to certain songs. I will never go to certain stores. Asa has had more heartache in his short six years than most people will ever go through in their long lives.
But we are still here.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Write. Publish. Delete. Repeat

I had written a post a few weeks ago and then deleted it. I almost deleted my last post. Why do I keep writing posts that I want to delete?

Because they are true. Maybe a bit too truthful but true nonetheless.

But they aren't the WHOLE truth.

I'm sure I come off as this horrid, angry, depressed person who you would never want to be around much less be a mother. The reason for this is because I get all my Meredith Grey "dark and twisty" side out on my blog. I manage to keep this all in check during the day while I'm with the kids. Out and about I actually come off as a very normal person. On the outside nobody can tell that I've lost my soul. Nobody can tell that I'm just a shell of who I was. Nobody can tell I walk into every store with dread because I don't know if they will play music and if they do will it be Muzak or music that might have a song on my DO NOT PLAY playlist. Nobody sees me ready my iPod and earphones in case this does happen. Nobody knows that I cannot have anyone in the passenger seat of my car where sissy always sat other than Norm, Papa, Beya or Joshua. Well, actually someone knows that now. It had never occurred to me that it might be a problem..... until I had to pick up one of Asa's classmates and his mom on the way to school. As I sat in this woman's driveway after dropping off the kids at school, I looked at her and all I saw was that sissy should be there. That was her seat. Nobody ever sat there except mom, papa, Norm or Joshua. A major, full blown panic attack took over my body. I couldn't hear her talking anymore, I felt like I was choking, my chest hurt and I couldn't breathe. I almost kicked her out of the car and have no memory driving the half mile to my house. Once home I got out of my car and almost collapsed. My legs were wobbly and I couldn't talk. I still couldn't breathe and my head was dizzy. I honestly thought I was going to pass out. So nobody but this poor, innocent neighbor/mom of Asa's classmate, knows that I can't have anyone sit in the passenger seat of my car. Nobody can tell that I'm still in shock and denial and even when I do tell people that my sister died (Asa's classmates moms, my pharmacist, etc....) they seem shocked at how low key I am about it. The fact that I'm able to say those words without dissolving into a puddle surprises me but I think that's where the shock and denial comes in. I save all my anger and dark and twisty for my blog.

This has been an especially difficult week as each day mom and I reliving what happened nine months ago. Right now as I'm sitting here writing this my mind takes me back to nine months ago. I was in the hospital room with mom, papa, Josh, Holly and Julia. Sissy was there too but not the real sissy, it was the cancer-sucking-the-life-out-of-her-before-our-very-eyes sissy. But she was still here with us... barely. In about 4 1/2 hours it will be nine months since she died. A week from today we will be reliving the funeral. After that I don't have anything to relive because I don't remember any of it.

Yesterday mom and I were talking and she asked me if I feel anything. I was quick with my answer because it was something that I've pondered myself; do I feel anything? I always feel love for the kids and an intense need for mom but other than that, no, I don't feel anything. Something recently happened that made me realize I don't really have any fear either. We were driving to the store and I told Beya that the road in front of us could disappear and the whole world could collapse into itself and I would be standing there, feeling the same thing as before, nothing. It wouldn't faze me. I could wake up in the morning on the moon and it wouldn't surprise me. I always have love for the kids, anything they do brings me happiness and things that they are supposed to do and don't, make me frustrated. The kids and mom are the only ones that make me feel emotions. That could also help explain why I'm in marriage counseling, haha.

Sissy wasn't my sister, my best friend, my confidante, my nephew's mum mum, she was my soul. I know that you don't love anyone the same as you love your kids but I can honestly say, now that I have children, that I DO love her the same. We were like mother and daughter only we were both the daughter, so it was daughter/daughter. I always told sissy, long before she had cancer again, that I would happily give my life for her. I would give up my arms and legs and be paralyzed for the rest of my life. I told that was a more accurate statement than "I would do anything for you." And the thing is, she would have done the same for me.

I have guilt. I feel guilty that she had cancer again. She had already had it, it should have been my turn. I was the one who was there for sissy during her first go round with cancer in 1992. I was the one who held her puke pan, who rubbed her back, who massaged her aching sore bald head, who made her eat, who told her to take it easy, who made her call in sick (which she RARELY did), who took care of her. It was then that I felt responsible for her and our relationship was forever changed and solidified. After she had Asa our already incredibly close bond became even stronger. So strong that it couldn't get any closer. We were emotionally superglued together and there was NOTHING either one of us wouldn't have done for the other.

So yes, she was my twin, my sister, my daughter, my best friend, my confidante, my cheerleader, my soul. And the fact that I can function without my soul, well, that does amaze me. I've always known our family was extremely strong but it never occurred to me that we would have to be this strong. I never wanted us to be this strong.

I do know that we can live through anything.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I Miss Her

One shitty thing about this month; the days and dates are the exact same as January. Last Saturday was the 2nd. On Saturday January 2nd Trina went to the hospital for what was to be a simple procedure of receiving fluids and blood transfusion. Yesterday was Monday, the 4th. On Monday January 4th I was sitting in sissy's hospital room when a doctor came in and told her "sorry, the liver disease is just too far along and there's nothing we can do. We could try to put in a stint but you aren't strong enough to make it through surgery. I'm sorry, this is it." To have to sit there and not just hear those words but to have watch your mom and sister hear them too, well, it was one of the worst things I've been witness to. Nine months ago today was the last time I saw my sissy coherent enough to have short, funny conversations with.

So October has provided us with yet one more land mine that we weren't expecting. Oh well, what are you going to do? Roll up and hide? Scream at the top of your voice? Throw pieces of furniture wildly around your house? Rip apart pillows? Tear up a Bible? These things are what I just pulled out of the top of my head because they are also things I've wanted to do but haven't...... yet. I'm shocked at the amount of restraint that I've shown, especially considering the amount of anger I have towards some people. Which brings me to another one of my pet peeves.

"I miss her too,"

Seriously? You, who saw Trina maybe once a year, or every ten years, or only reconnected with her after her diagnosis, or didn't even bother calling or doing jack shit until AFTER she died, have the fucking balls to tell us, her immediate family, "I miss her too" which implies that their "loss" is on the same tier as ours.

Oh no they deh-ent (wave of the hand, neck roll, hand up in the air)

Yes, that is one of my "favorites" that is guaranteed to send my blood pressure rising. Personally I could never go up to someone who has lost a member of their immediate family and say "I miss them too." Uh, NO! First of all NOBODY can miss them like the immediate family can and for me to sit there and insinuate that you are on par with them is just a plain dumbass move. So when people do that to us it drives me insane!

Nobody can miss sissy like the 7 of us can.

Nobody saw her every day like the 7 of us did.

Nobody saw her throwing up every day like the 7 of us did.

Nobody knew what she could and couldn't eat like we did.

Nobody knew how sweaty she got as a side effect of one chemo drug like we did.

Nobody went to concerts with her like I did.

Nobody had "no kid, sissy dates" like I did.

Nobody had a part in our own personal party line like we did.

Nobody made their lunch plans around what she was hungry for like we did.

Nobody had their day on hold until knowing how she was going to be feeling like we did.

Nobody saw her cry with fear like we did.

Nobody saw her fight with every fiber of her being like we did.

Nobody saw her be scared that she might not really make it like we did.

Nobody saw her do her best to really live for Asa like we did.

Nobody saw her struggle with her bipolar like we did.

Nobody had backyard BBQ's at Summer Party Central like we did.

Nobody talked to her a minimum of 5 times a day and spend at least 4 hours a day with her like we did.

So yeah, when someone tells me "I miss her too", well, no, no you don't. Your "loss" of her isn't even a thread on the bottom of our cloak of grief that will be forever covering us. So please don't tell me how much you miss her.

Finally, I leave you with this, Asa's rendition of Train's "Soul Sister." He was singing this Saturday on his way to his soccer game. I cried the whole time I was taping this. There are so many countless cute things the kids do that sissy will never see. Like mom says, "such a waste." But she and Joshua created this wonderful, miracle child that we never take for granted. And I'm so fortunate to be the mother of a head strong, very similar to sissy full of life daughter who finds joy in EVERYTHING! I really am so very, very fortunate to have the things in my life that I do.

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