anothersister Posted July 18, 2006 Share Posted July 18, 2006 My sister has been deceased of small cell lung cancer for a little while. At first, because of losing her and because of other circumstances in my life, I was more than willing to end my own life. But time does help---not necessarily in the way that you expect, but it does help. For example, I've had time to reflect on my relationship with my sister and realized that much of my grief was not just for her, but for our relationship, what it wasn't, for what it might have been, what it could have been, and what I was hoping would happen. She had a very domineering, controlling husband who hated me since he met me---and I never knew why, because I was just a child, and not a spoiled one, when they married. But at that point, my relationship with her changed forever. I was only allowed small slices of her life---a phone call here, a visit there. When he was at home, it was palpable how unwelcome I was. He was very jealous and intrusive, and she allowed it. When this attitude began to be extended to my own nuclear family, I stopped speaking to her. Then because of a family event, we began to speak again. The unspoken became so obvious during our conversations...she would ask me to call during the day, when he was at work. He came home for lunch, and when he arrived, the tenor of our conversation changed dramatically, or ended completely. But I was of the opinion that she was sick of this...she had other health problems which had limited the scope of her life, and she needed me. Then, shortly after our reunification, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. I decided to focus all my attentions on being positive, not digging into the hurtful past. But he was always around then, having retired, so our conversations were brief and superficial, and I was discouraged from visiting. At the end stages of her life, when hospice was called, even her own children were not included in the care process, and I was not allowed to come and see her until less than a week before her death. One could say he was being very noble, taking care of her by himself in her last days, but it was really selfishness---he could have used the help. On that last visit, the message was given to me that I should pretend it was just a social visit, to chat and talk around her--she was nonverbal at this point, and had always been the leader of conversations, so imagine how that was. He didn't want me to touch or hold her, even though it was obvious that I would never see her again---said it would hurt her. I used to work in a hospital so I know how to be gentle with and handle people in the last stages of terminal illness...also, she was so gorked on morphine, I knew I could not add to her pain. Fortunately, my husband distracted him for a brief minute so I could hold her, tell her I loved her. We looked into each other's eyes & she smiled at me. After she died, I received several unexpected, unannounced packages in the mail. Some of it was some of her personal effects, some of her jewelry, but most of it was family photographs (by that I mean photographs from her/my side of the family) and all sorts of paper ephemera through the years--cards and notes that I had written for her as a child, drawings, postcards when I was older and traveled, notes from my children---she saved them all, so it was obvious she loved me. At first I thought he was extending an unexpected kindness...then I realized he wanted to get rid of anything that had to do with me. I learned that he went their whole house & purged everything, including all their furniture---this was the furniture from his previous marriage, that he forced on her, not her taste, that she polished and took care of for years---but within months of her death, he tossed. I went to visit her grave once--she had always talked of wanting to be cremated--and saw the headstone for their dual plot, with his name above hers--always on top, even in death. I drove by their/his house, which had been completely redone on the outside---it didn't look like her anymore---it looked like him---neutral colors, plain angles---cold. My point is, if she had lived, probably nothing would have changed in our relationship. He would have been jealous, controlling, preventing us from seeing each other and talking to each other, excluding my family from family events, she would have let it continue status quo, and I would have been as hurt and bewildered as ever. So, while I wish she was still on earth to enjoy life, as she died much too young, I know that much of my grief was for something I longed for and never would have had, anyway, and that has made it tolerable. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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