Did you ever lose someone in your life and realize that you didn’t really understand them while they were here? I lost my eldest sister Marie in May of 2022, and I understand her better and better every day that goes by. I wish I could talk to her and tell her, “I get it now. I know how you felt.” Of course, I do talk to her, but it isn’t like having her sitting across from me at the kitchen table, something that happened on a weekly basis the last year of her life. I’m so thankful that I had that time with her, even though our talks weren’t always happy or enlightening. Sometimes, it could be tough to get her to open up. But when she did, so much was revealed.
Our conversations would inevitably wind up on our family. Herein lies the biggest hurt of Marie’s life, one that I totally get now. When she was alive I always had her to fall back on, so the backlash from the remaining members of our immediate family didn’t matter as much to me. I tried to ease her pain by reminding her that she and I had each other and our sister Jeanne, and nothing else was all that important. We had to leave the past behind and count on one another. Now that she’s gone, the loneliness of not having anyone to talk to about the inner workings of our shattered brood is deep, and likewise, not having someone of my own flesh and blood that I can trust without question is disheartening. Though we didn’t always agree, Marie was the only one in my family that really kept on top of my medical concerns, and dealt with the ups and downs of our sister Jeanne, who is disabled and has nonstop health issues. Other than our parents, I have likely never met anyone that could be counted on unconditionally to keep her mouth shut and be a support system, even when the chips were down, like Marie could be. And in the final years of Marie’s life, the chips were usually down. I get it why she wanted to fade away, and did.
Don’t take this post the wrong way. I’m not suicidal. I’m not looking to check out, or to elicit sympathy. But my heart has been broken so many times by people I love and who are supposed to love me that I’ve lost count and I just keep moving further away from them. Marie’s heartbreak was tenfold to mine. So I have that to live with. I’m shattered for my parents too, who were the best people in the world, and deserve a better legacy than the one still playing out. We should have all been success stories. They gave us everything. We have no excuses. Yet we are unfixable at this point. There isn’t even a “we” anymore.
I’m also not jealous of anyone’s family. I don’t want yours. I want mine, the way it used to be before some poor examples of human beings were invited in and came between us. I want family members that, instead of celebrating those who trample them, celebrate those who celebrate them. But I know that this is impossible; the damage has already been done.
So, what is there to do?
Marie was never able to build a circle of friends outside of our family, and I haven’t done so well either. We were both born introverts. And with six girls, we didn’t so much need friends, because we had each other. I realized long ago, when we started to crumble, that a lot of my failure to have long-term friendships is because my sisters were my best friends. Now that they have either moved on to the next life, or have stayed stuck in place in this life and I’ve moved on, I’m at a terrible loss. Instead, for years I’ve been removing myself from situations that simply hurt too much, and counting on friends, and traveling, and writing, to get me through. Marie couldn’t find ways to cope the way I have. But she has found the peace she wished for. Whenever I miss her too much I have to remind myself of that.
I want to find mine while I’m still alive.
New family wanted. Apply here.