Taking a break from the normal format this week…
I lost my sister last week to an untimely death. She was far too young. Circumstances of her life have always been far less than ideal and the circumstances of her death were about the same.
I did not know my sister well so the sense of loss is not the same as it would be if we had been siblings growing up together under the same roof. That said, there still seems to be a vacancy where something previously had been.
It was always so difficult to stay in touch with her. Her phone number and living situation were always in constant flux. To be honest, after a while, I didn’t try so hard to reach out.
One could say that she touted a poor history of decision making. But what could you possibly expect of a child caught in a shitty situation?
She called me a few months back asking for help. While not directly, it was pretty clear to me that she was asking for money and a place to stay. Given the limited information I do know about her, I did not feel it was possible to offer either. Instead, I offered to help search for suitable living conditions, a women’s shelter perhaps. I offered to pay for online courses if there was something she wanted to learn about. I felt that offering things along these lines would be more helpful than a quick cash infusion or place to rest. But that’s not all. If I’m being honest with myself, offering these things also served to protect the life that I am building and the circumstances I’ve created for myself. I couldn’t risk throwing everything into disarray for a person I barely know. Is that selfish? I’m not sure I have an answer at this point.
Now I find myself here in the present situation. Was her cry for help more dire than it seemed? Should I, or could I, have done more? What could I have even done?
When I woke up last Friday, I wanted to do what I normally do when these type of events present themselves. I wanted to take it in stride, go the gym, and head to work, like any other day. For much of my life, I’ve found this to be the best solution. The world won’t stop spinning for me due to a random unfortunate event. So why should my wheels stop spinning?
Luckily I have a life partner in my fiancé that’s a bit more in touch with the softer side of life than I am. She suggested that I take the day off from work, skip the gym and spend time with her reflecting on how I felt. She took off work as well to take a long walk with Dutch and me along the waterfront. She knew that I didn’t want to spend the whole day talking about my feelings or moping around, but she also recognized the importance of pausing to take a breath and reflect. She didn’t force me to talk about it, but was clear in communicating that it was ok to feel something and that it was ok to take a break. While the world would not stop spinning on my account, all of the trials and tribulations of everyday life would still be there the next day, even if we stepped away for a second.
She’s such an incredible human being and I’m so thankful for the unspoken wisdom she imparts to me on a daily basis.
Anyways, here we are.
And only one direction to go.