Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sad Anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of my sister Lora's passing. It has not been an easy year. We had a Mass said for her today to commemorate this sad day.

We are still working out the disposal of her "estate" such as it is. The house is the biggest asset and liability she had. With the housing market being "soft" people are more interested in getting a bargain.

More importantly, is how her death has affected us. My brother is angry. Mom is prone to absentmindedness. She feels disconnected, the same as after my dad died. Me, I feel abandoned, first by my dad, and then my sister.

We all know how our parents influence and interfer in our lives. Influence because when we are young, we absorb what they say and do, its how we learn things. Interfer, because when we are grown up and out of the house, parents sometimes cling to the need we had for them when we were small. It didn't matter that I was in my 40s, because I was not married, my dad felt the need to tell me what to do or how I was "supposed" to act. Never mind that I worked in a different industry, and had been on my own since I was 18. My experiences meant little to him. My comments, even when he asked for them, were suspect and lacked credibility because I wasn't a man. Yes, its true. If I offered a comment, it was dismissed. But if one of his friends made the same comment, then suddenly he took note of it. It was hurtful and laughable at times.

When my dad died suddenly, all of us lost one of our anchors. Our little boats spun around in the current for awhile. My brother and his family had each other to help move them forward. My sister and my mom were always close and were also closer in distance. She had both her daughters and son to anchor her, to help with decisions, get things done around the house, etc. She has wonderful neighbors who helped distract her by taking her to dinner, and plays. I had just met my husband-to-be, so I had a roller coaster ride, the up of the romance, and the down of the loss really wreaked havoc on my person. But I thank God for him, because I believe that things would have been quite a bit different for me otherwise, and he is the one who became my anchor.

When my sister died, it was even more shocking to our systems. No one could have guessed the outcome, no one had a chance to reconcile themselves to her death. Not like when a parent dies, its always in the back of your mind that they will not always be there, especially as they get elderly, you resign yourself to that fact. My sister was in early middle age, decades before her yet. My mom counted on her to be the one to care for her as she aged, because they were such good friends. There is still a hole that can't be filled by anyone else, especially for mom.

As for me, I feel like most of my childhood memories have left. Lora was there for most of them. Siblings have long memories, and aren't shy about making sure you don't live down some of the funny or embarassing moments in your life. And even during some of those times when we were at odds with each other, we always knew the other was there, one of the anchors of our lives. The touchpoints that helped shape us, and identify us.

The funny thing is, I think she left me even before she passed on. She decided not to come to my wedding. She's not in any of the pictures with the rest of the family. The wedding was a little more than a year before she died. Isn't that heartbreaking?

Rest in Peace, Lora.

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