Let me start with last Thanksgiving. The day itself was a normal one for me. But I guess after I left my sister told our parents that she was getting a divorce.
We came over on Saturday for dinner. However...we weren't there very long before we all heard my sister arguing with my mother. I had never heard my sister go off quite like that before. I had absolutely no idea what to do!! Oh how now I wish that I had tried to get her to talk to me!
Anyway...my mother was sobbing...and she sent us home with a pizza that we could cook for dinner. The next day my husband ran into my family when he was out shopping. My sister apologized to him...and we were once again invited over to my parents' house.
We went...but my sister was sleeping in her room for the majority of the time we were there. And because of that I did not get a picture of her like I wanted to. :(
We did get to chat a little before I left. And that was the last actual conversation that I had with her. I assume that we hugged and said goodbye...but unfortunately I don't remember that for sure.
I did write her one email about what happened...and tried to get her to talk to me. She did write me back...but said something like she didn't really know how to explain.
I meant to try again...but didn't get that far before I ran out of time and she died.
The day she died was a happy one for me. I went to school to see both of my kids get awards. And it had been a long time since my son had gotten one.
I didn't learn what happened until the following evening. My parents called. I didn't answer the first time...but when they called again both my husband and I answered at the same time. I heard my Dad's voice...and assumed he wanted to talk to my husband. I hung up the phone. Shortly afterward my husband tells me I better sit down. I don't remember exactly what he said...except that he didn't specify which sister. (I have two of them) But I knew between the two of them which one would kill herself. I heard my mother say that she had tried to take her son with her. I stopped listening at that point. I was in such shock. I kept saying "what?" "what"? over and over again. I paced...I sat on the couch...my mouth dropped open...I put my hands to my head. I simply could not believe what I was hearing. I had no clue. I knew she was unhappy...but I didn't have any idea that she was suicidal...let alone that she would actually do it. :(
It was like 8:00 at night when I got the call. I didn't know what to do after that. I had been reading my Kindle before the call...and tried to go back to that...but I just couldn't concentrate. So I ended up on my computer...looking for a few online support groups and information on surviving suicide. I was up until like the middle of the night doing this.
Now I had had a good friend since I was 19 (I'm 45 now) She was practically my best friend. But for some reason the previous year-and-a-half she wouldn't talk to me. I am also friends with her son...and I told him what had happened...and asked him to tell his mother...and ask her to call me. And I knew if she didn't call for this...she wouldn't call for anything. And miracle and miracles she called. Which was great! :) But...even so...I have some mixed feelings about it. These were so NOT the circumstances that I wanted to make this happen. It felt like someone good happened to me at my sister's expense. On the one hand...nobody consulted me...so I was determined to enjoy it. But...on the other hand...it was like if I enjoyed it...that meant that this is how I wanted this to happen. (sigh)
I ended up deciding to make the trip from Florida to Ohio to attend her Memorial Service. I packed and made all the arrangements that I needed to in only two days. We drove up. We ended up staying in a motel. My appetite was kind of funny...and I had a VERY hard time sleeping. I couldn't seem to get over 4 hours of sleep each night the entire time I was there.
The next day I saw my sister's body. All 4 of us who were left in my immediate family saw it. At first we all went in together. And we all immediately started crying. My Mom kept hugging all of us. My Mom pretty much lost it. She kept asking "why"...and saying "my baby", "my baby" over and over again. It was heartbreaking.
Then we went in one at a time. Now the night before I had prepared what I wanted to say to her. My mother unexpectedly wanted to hear. I wasn't crazy about the idea but said okay. She came in with me and was very distracting. Plus in the middle her cell phone went off. That annoyed me...I had turned off my cell phone the second I got to the funeral home. But I got over it. And felt good about saying what I needed to say.
The next few hours were strangely kind of nice. We all went into a room and wrote my sister's obituary. Then we went to a nearby florist and chose her flowers. Then we went out to eat. I got a very comforting bowl of soup. We did what we needed to do for my sister...and we did it together. My opinion was sought...and taken into consideration. And...for once...I felt like a member of my own family...instead of like an outsider.
Now originally we were only planning on being there for about 2 days...but the service ended up being a few days later than originally thought. So...I had a little bit of time to do some sight seeing. There were some things I had REALLY been wanting to see for a few years...and while I was there...I was able to do so. Again...so NOT the circumstances I wanted this to happen...but I did it anyway. Not without some mixed feelings though.
I tried to write a eulogy...but...alas that was MUCH harder for me to do that figure out what I wanted to say to my sister. Eventually I got it done though.
On Sunday...I got to see my friend who hadn't talked to me in so long. I went to her church...and she came over to my sister's house afterwards. While it was very nice to see her...it had been so long...and I had missed her so much...that pretty much all I could do was cling to her...and keep saying how nice it was to see her.
Monday was the Memorial Service. We had all morning to get ready...and then we went over there. I was a real social butterfly seeing people that I hadn't seen in years. A number of people came. The service was VERY nice...but seemed too short for me. My mother spoke, I spoke, and my sister Pam spoke. And of course the minister spoke. Before the service they were playing a DVD that showed a number of pictures of her over and over with some music that made tears come to my eyes. It was the only time tears came to my eyes the entire time I was there. Alas it seems like I can cry easily over just about anything except at funerals. I didn't cry at my father-in-law's...or my sister's. I did watch part of the DVD while I was there...but there was just too many people to see...and the half hour that I had before the service started just flew by.
Anyway...we had a get together at a church afterward. Only many of the people couldn't stay. And while I understood that...they had to get back to work and things...I did so wish that more people had been there. I got pictures of everyone that I could...email addresses too. It was nice.
Afterwards my father's sister met us all back at my sister Pam's house. She showed us a bunch of pictures of my cousins and their families. It was very nice.
We left to go back home very early the next morning. I was pleased with the trip overall...and knew the healing process had begun.
But once I got home I seemed to be stuck. I would run into reminders of her when I would least expect them...and feel like I was hit upside the head. I run into her name absolutely everywhere. I started feeling a lot of guilt and regret. As well as becoming really, really depressed. And I just felt stuck.
Until I found Maureen Hunter...and her Facebook page "Stepping Through Grief". I really connected with what she's saying...and started to do a few things she recommends...as well as have plans to do other things she recommends...and then stopped feeling quite so stuck. Not that I haven't been doing a whole lot of grieving lately...I have. And no...I haven't made tons of progress. But I now know more what to do...and I have more hope. So that is some progress! :)
And...so...for the moment..."My Story" ends. Until the next chapter. ;)