There’s no love like a sister’s love – I’ve got 5 of them so I know what I’m talking about. Each and every one of them are with you through thick and thin, will keep watch over you when needed, will sometimes tell you what to do even if you don’t ask, will say “you look good” after an illness despite your whacked-out hairdo, and every one of them will all talk at the same time at family gatherings and for some strange reason, you get what they’re all saying!! When we’re all in sympatico it’s a wonderful feeling, but there have been, and I’m sure will continue to be, some bad times in each of our lives where one of us will get so pissed off at one or (sometimes) more of the others that we seek solace in the arms of our husbands, children or even another sister. We can bitch, let it all out, scream or even cry at the Sympathetic Ear that is listening and afterward feel so much better once you get it off your chest. The Sympathetic Ear will listen, frown a bit, tilt their head in understanding, try to tell you it’s not that bad, you’ll get over it and that the then despised sister didn’t know what she was doing. You’ll be told it will all blow over and you still love that sister no matter what they did, but (unbeknownst to your Sympathetic Ear) you’re going to hold a grudge for who knows how long and possibly seek revenge if it was legal.
Now for the story – and I’ll preface it with a few personal details:
Today I’m 63 years of age. I suffer from bouts of depression (along with a few other sisters). I’m a transplant patient on quite a lot of medication with sometimes “medical” and sometimes “weird” side effects, even though most of those have dissipated with the years. I’m married to a man I love deeply, but can’t always grasp what “we” sisters are all about – he only has one and she’s 3600 miles away! I’m an obsessive neat and clean freak. If you say “No”, I’ll say “Yes”. And to add to it all, I can be a bit hyper (blame that on one of my meds). Otherwise I’m a normal old broad with a positive attitude, a good outlook on life and can’t get enough laughter!!
Having said all of the above, I sit here today pondering whether to do this posting or not. I could make it “Private”, but will leave it “Public” only because I feel that those involved in this whole mixed-up and convoluted affair should have a better understanding of how I truly feel, that I’ve been deeply hurt, embarrassed and disappointed.
This soap opera began back in July when Second Oldest Sister wasn’t feeling well. Nothing was thought about it, she just thought it was some bug going around. She then thought she was gaining weight and when the Oldest Sister said something she was told it wasn’t anything more than weight gain – even though Oldest Sister knew it had to be more than that. Time went by and with each visit Oldest Sister knew something was really wrong with Second Oldest Sister but wasn’t sure how to approach things. Second Oldest Sister likes to be left to her own devices. Oldest Sister then called me mid-August and as she was telling me things, I told her she had to insist that Second Oldest Sister at least go to a walk-in clinic to have this checked out. I can only assume that Oldest Sister had to reluctantly drag Second Oldest Sister to the clinic and once she was there was told that something was definitely wrong, that it didn’t look good, and that she should have some tests done. After driving back and forth between the Clinic and the Hospital in Welland, the tests were completed and read. The results were bad, but still not quite enough information could be discovered to really tell what was going on. The two Sisters were told they should immediately seek the advice of their family physician. The two of them went home waited for the booked appointment Second Oldest Sister had already set up some weeks back. No matter what, Oldest Sister would stick by Second Oldest Sister’s side, be her ears and take notes in case of information over-load (which always happens with Doctors nowadays).
When Oldest Sister called me the second time and I heard what the Clinic doctor had said, I was devastated. Second Oldest Sister would be seeing as Oncologist in Hamilton for further tests. As Oldest Sister talked, her tone was dire and my tears began to flow. From what they could tell, it was a humungous tumour, it could be cancerous and it should be looked at immediately. After bawling my head off and almost insisting to Oldest Sister that I wanted to come along with them to Hamilton, I promised to sit in the back seat, be quiet and be there just for support and even company for Oldest Sister. I was promptly told NO, Second Oldest Sister wanted to be left alone and that I was not to tell any of the other sisters until more was known. I sort of understood that, but still felt something was wrong enough that all of the other sisters should be informed. I broke Oldest Sister’s wishes and emailed the other 3. I truly felt that if something happened (God forbid) in the meantime the other 3 would be devastated and rightfully so, mad as hell. The lack of communication, secrecy and mistrust has happened so often in the past in this family that a couple of us are mad as hell and want it to stop. We’re all over 40 and some of us are still being treated as kids.
Naturally, the emails began to flow between one sister or the other after I broke Oldest Sister’s promise; and naturally the rest of us were upset. We’d be more than respectful of Second Oldest Sister’s request to be left alone – ask and ye shall receive.
With the emails now flowing back and forth between myself and One Younger Sister, I soon learned of certain events a few years back that horrified me and if I’d known about, would have corrected or straightened out right away. Once I found out what had happened (during one of my major depression bouts), I emailed the Affected Sister, apologized and tried to explain that I knew nothing about all of this. I felt as though I couldn’t have apologized enough – I was embarrassed at what had been done, I felt betrayed by this Particular Sister, and looking back soon realized how everything made sense. At family gatherings Affected Sister only talked to me when I spoke first, had a hard time looking at me, never emailed, phoned (not that we did much of that anyways), and especially never dropped by when in our neck of the woods. After all, Nat and I had built a new porch and made a few upgrades to our little nest and Affected Sister seemed to take no interest. I was now wondering if it was something I had said or done – which can happen during my depressing moments. For months and months I’d go through bouts of wondering what I was doing to piss off the rest of the family. Was I being too loud, too nosy, too aggressive, too passive (nah!!), saying the wrong things, and so on and so on? With each family get-together I tried to be quiet, mind my own business and just keep near dear hubby for comfort and reassurance. Around the same time I, too, was having my own family problems (on hubby’s side) which made for a more deeper depression and even more thoughts of craziness. I found myself shopping a lot on my own – going to Niagara Square just to walk around in circles. (Trust me, you can do that at The Square – not much there). I’d buy a little something I didn’t really need, spend money we really didn’t have, cry a lot at night, couldn’t get out of bed, tried to explain the various emotions I was feeling to loving hubby (who, I’m sure, to this day still has a spinning head), and walk through each day like a wound-up robot. One good thing – I cleaned an awful lot. I even had a heart-to-heart talk with my two Nephrologists – not psychologists – but have a vested interest in how I’m feeling physically and emotionally.
Needless to say, when I found out that some of this madness wasn’t all my fault and that someone else had taken it upon themselves to do something they thought was in my best interest, my blood pressure blew up and I began another bout of (mild) depression.
The whole thing began when one Particular Sister took it upon herself to email Affected Sister, with my interests in mind. Particular Sister told Affected Sister that I bothered her, that her family bothered me and this was all because of something she had said or done to me. (I wish I knew what it was that I said or did, but Affected Sister is being very tactful in not telling). Particular Sister felt that Affected Sister should know and thus Affected Sister decided to take a step back in order not to upset me. Affected Sister would not drop by uninvited and wouldn’t call or email. If I wanted to see her, I knew where she lived. Then a few months later Particular Sister decided to email Affected Sister again to advise that another Sister was mad at her on a whole other matter, and again, Affected Sister took another step back from yet another Sister.
Not to be outdone, months later, Affected Sister gets another email from Particular Sister saying I’m not well, perhaps depressed and no one was to know except two Youngest Sisters. (This one I really didn’t understand, but hey, I was apparently nuts at the time.) Particular Sister went on to advise that no Sister was to visit, email or call me – and in bold letters, to boot! I guess she was adamant!! I can only believe that this was during my other family problems – which were quite intense. It’s ironic, however, that Particular Sister took it upon herself to do this, as I was seriously wanting to talk to Affected Sister or one Youngest Sister for advice. I was seeking help desperately and didn’t know who to turn to. Loving Hubby didn’t get it – wanted me to talk it out with him, but he had a vested interest and that wasn’t going to happen. After many, many long discussions, tears and words of anger, it was agreed that I would seek help from our family physician (thankfully a woman) and, long story short, I got the much needed advice and words of wisdom I was looking for, had some wonderful “talking sessions” with a Social Worker and today my life continues just fine, thank you very much!! Nothing is perfect, but nothing ever is!!
I’ve had my moments in life, my moments with loving hubby, sisters, brothers and even a Nephrologist or two. My emotions run high, my emotions run deep, but I’ll always think positive, will try my best to laugh and, when able, turn the other cheek. This time it’s hard and extremely difficult to forgive and forget. This Particular Sister set a lot of wheels in motion – I’m sure with good intentions and I’m sure out of love. But unwittingly she’s caused some hard feelings, she’s embarrassed me to no end, she set me on a course of possible destruction until help was sought and yet, my love for her will never be questioned. Until the memory cells really start to fade from this old brain, it will be difficult for me to walk in a room with Particular Sister and feel like everything is fine, when it’s not. I could or would never tell her to her face what she’s done – she’d be devastated and heart broken and I’m sure really doesn’t understand what she’s done. I would also hope that those beloved Sisters of mine that read this will understand this is my way of getting it off my chest and out in the open. After writing these words I’ve come to understand that all things “Family” come with ups, downs, good times, bad times, happy times, sad times, and with each of us getting older our memories are fading, we’re reminiscing and we’re getting more impatient, sometimes a little bitter and sometimes hopeful for the future. To quote Affected Sister’s email (which sums it all up nicely):
“Yep, Nat has the right to speak for you, but when we start pulling others into the mix, it just gets mixed up and the batter gets lumpy. We also have times when someone in the family gets on her nerves, we are human.”
This entry was written in the hopes that each and every one of us will be respectful of the others, not tittle-tattle and take it upon themselves to help out – even though with good intentions.