NIGHT TEN: ON MEMORIES & MEMORIAL DAY PART 1

Originally posted May 20, 2017

I don’t know where this is gonna go but i’ve been trying to watch a probably decent movie for 45 minutes now and I just can’t even take it in. And I really don’t think it has anything to do with the movie. I just can’t seem to get out of my own head tonight… but that was going on way before ten days ago.

I’m just so out of sorts that I can’t even name what’s going on. I’m so tired of whining and wailing on here and I made it a point last night to look for the good stuff… to find the things I was and still am grateful for. But I guess the sad is back. It’s never really that far away. It’s always there. Waiting.

I’m guess I’m just so tired. Sometimes I don’t even know what’s wearing me out but it just seems to get this strangle hold on me… like now. There’s this knot in my throat and the squeezing stuff in my chest is back. At least I know what the squeezing stuff is all about now though and I know it ain’t gonna kill me so it’s not all that worrisome. It’s just there sometimes. But at least that’s the one thing that I know will go away.

I don’t know, but maybe I’ve been trying to write it all out of my system. I’ve sure been pouring out a lot of words lately and for the life of me I don’t know why or how y’all are looking in now and then, much less trying to keep up with it… or if you’re growing tired of it all… Tired. Like me.

I’m tired of being so alone and I am so FREAKING tired of weekends. But more than that, I’m tired of holiday weekends and I think I still might actually have a hangover from Mother’s Day. It was wicked hard this year and I honestly don’t think the whole fentanyl deal had a darn thing to do with that. I just really, really miss my Mom. So much so that I burst into tears watching Babe last night because I could so relate to that broken-hearted little talking pig crying out “I want my Mom.” It’ll soon be half of my life that I’ve spent without her… but I’ll never stop wanting my Mom.

And so along comes another weekend. Another holiday weekend. Another Memorial Day Weekend…

You see I miss my big sister too. I want to call my sister and I want to talk to her about our Mom. I want to reminisce with her about all the things that she was smart enough to learn to do from our Mother while we had the chance. But I left both of them and all those unlearned lessons behind when I moved a thousand miles away.

That move probably saved my life, but at the same time it also means I missed out on a lot of theirs. Like how to make biscuits and gravy. And even how to make biscuits and chocolate gravy. (Okay, so it’s an acquired taste.) And how to grow all manner of green things outside in the ground as well as in pots all over the house. How to make pretty things with pretty much any kinds of pretty things. How to find some kind of fun, or some kind of funny, in just about any situation.

And how to Love. A no-holds-barred kind of Love that just seemed to permeate everything they touched.

Mind you it wasn’t always perfect between my sister and me. We were sooooo different growing up. She was the ultimate tomboy and my favorite picture of her from when we were little is the Christmas when she got her cowboy hat and pistols. And that year I had actually gotten the one thing that I most wanted in the whole wide world! Santa brought me a Thumblina doll! My sister was unimpressed and I wouldn’t be surprised if she put a couple of rounds into that stupid, silly, girly doll of mine!

We both played in Ponytail Softball. Well, I might have had a ponytail but she was the only one who scored… ever. She would learn to play the coronet and would go to band camp and was in the pep band at all of the high school football games… and once Mom even had to try to explain to the ER docs that her daughter’s finger had been almost broken by a tuba! Her side of our shared room was plastered with Bobby Sherman posters and mine was covered with David Cassidy. And oh how we would fuss when that invisible line of all those posters of our beloveds got crossed.

She was bold and creative and artistic… and… And we were just… so… different. She was so “far out!” And me? I was soooo far IN.

Truth be told, when I came along she really didn’t care so much for having another kid in the house – especially a girl – to compete with. And in our younger years she was pretty much the poster child for all those idiosyncrasies you hear about “the middle child.” I can kind of smile about it now, but it really did hurt my feelings that my Sissy didn’t want much to do with me. She was fearless and there was nothing she could not or would not do once she’d set her mind to it! And me? I was so busy trying to stay invisible that she really needn’t have worried that I was any competition for the attention she craved.

And so she just pretty much just ignored that pesky little new kid that just did… not.. fit! Because that new kid was NOTHING like her, and NOTHING like her brother… heck that new kid was NOTHING like anybody else in the family for that matter with all of that kinky red hair that nobody else had. Not to mention that, unlike everybody else, she was born in Ohio instead of Virginia. And that made her a Buckeye! And Daddy always said that buckeyes were “nothing more than a small brown worthless nut.”

Unless we were in the mountains.

When we were on vacation – any vacation – we always went “down home” to visit family in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. It was during those mountain visits that I finally caught a glimpse of what sisterhood could be – even if it was one of convenience. See, when we were in the mountains, she kind of got left behind by her big brother who was doing his “boy stuff” with our youngest uncle – leaving me as the only one around to keep her company. So she made the best of it and I, of course, was all too eager to enjoy even a temporary semblance of sisterdom. We really did have a lot of fun together during those trips. And it was in those mountains that we could share a bond. That bond was real, of that I’m certain.

But some bonds, even real ones, are just not as strong as others and the day would come when, sadly, the slender strands of our sisterhood would become completely unraveled. The sudden, incomprehensible and overwhelming loss of our Mother would put us each on our own divergent and desolate roads that took us both far, far away from the other… and probably ourselves as well.

I don’t know, maybe it was that we’d not spent enough of our sisterly journey together in times of joy that left us without a strong enough connection to carry us through such a long and painful stretch of sorrow. And so we each spent too many years apart and alone in our own separate brokenness, not knowing how to repair our own damage… much less being able to reach out to the other to help with hers.

I can only guess that there was just something about even that fragile and typically temporary mountain bond that we had established in the fits and starts of our childhood that would one day finally resurface. Dusty and rutted and ragged pathways that at one time seemed forever impassable would begin to emerge and the day would finally arrive when our separate journeys would finally, yet tenuously, arrive at a crossroads to a new relationship.

Ultimately – and thankfully – that mountain bond would be fully restored and for the first time we could finally come together as both sisters and as women and we could begin to see one another as beloved equals. She even wrote me one of her beautiful poems called “Sister Heart.” It basically sums up in rhyme all of history I’ve poured out here. I guess she was also better at getting to the heart of the matter.

But I can’t call my Sister Heart anymore. I still have the recording of the last voicemail she left for me. I emailed it to myself so that, God willing, I’ll at least always have that. It’s just a quick hello, but I treasure each and every one of those precious eight seconds that were captured from that missed call. Sometimes I listen to it over and over as a kind of touchstone… a way to ensure that I’ll never forget her. Or maybe it’s just a way of helping me believe that she is now being the protective big sister who is watching over me.

“Hey, give me a call when you get a chance. Love you. Buhbye.”

She left me that message for me on April 7, 2015 and little did I know that it would be the last voicemail she would ever leave me because she would only live for fourty nine more days. And her last day on earth would arrive during that year’s upcoming

Memorial

Day

Weekend.

So if or when the words might come, I will be able to tell you the other reason why I was so highly motivated to get off of that fentanyl patch. That damned patch, combined with ignorance and negligence, was what took my sister’s life a mere two days after she showed up at an emergency room… only to end up in the care of an ill informed and incompetent medical staff.

And given the two year statute of limitations… this coming Friday. The Friday of this coming holiday weekend. This Memorial Day Weekend… even the mere thought of finding the justice we were unable to achieve for my big sister will die. Just as she did after spending her last two days on earth in a bitter kind of hell that I have only tasted.

MLMB…

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