It happens at this time every year. Every time without fail and without me even realising it is happening. Well that was until last year in the midst of all these crazy feelings of despair I finally realised why I get like this, why I cry and feel sad know matter what my day brings. So this year as the tears began to roll and after a brief moment of thinking ‘what the hell is wrong with?‘ I quickly remembered. I now know why.
This realisation makes it easier to accept the tears and with acceptance I am being kinder to myself during this process then I have in previous years. This is the week of my life that my sub-conscious goes back to his final week here. The last week that I had the opportunity to spend time with him. The last week to show him I cared and to nurture him. The last week and last chance I had to have told him I loved him. But I never did. I never said it out loud, just over and over in my head a thousand times. I was too scared to say it, my voice wouldn’t own it. I was scared to say it out loud because saying I love you was like telling him that this was it. His life was ending, it was over and I was giving up on him.
So as the tears roll now and my heart hurts, this time I know why. I know that it is the distant memory, the unforgettable pain and the sadness that we had to say goodbye that is making me cry.
I also know that I am ok. I am not sad to get sympathy from others. I am not sad because I think I am the only one to have dealt with death. My sadness isn’t forced or unnatural it just is. I am sad because I miss him. I am sad because this time will always be the last few days of his life – no matter how many years pass.
I feel sad without realising until I remember.
Today and in the days leading to the anniversary of the last time I saw him, through the tears, I try to focus on happy memories and not on the last image of his face. I like to remember his positive attitude towards life and towards his fight with cancer. I remember the mark he left on this world and I remember that even though I am sad I am also very blessed. Blessed to have been his sister, to have known him and to have him watching over us as I continue to live my life – something I felt guilty about for such a long time but try to no longer dwell on.
So as his anniversary draws near and maybe it’s his presence I can feel more during this time I just wanted to acknowledge him. To acknowledge the feelings, the journey and the ride of missing someone. And I do. I miss him and the future he should of had with us.
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understandings with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints in our heart, and we are never ever the same” ~ Chicken Soup for the Soul
This is a short story below is from two peoples points of view that I wrote not long after my brother passed away. It’s not the true story of Jeremy or his relationship with my Mum but just some words that I wrote for them both, with the hope and intention that the end part is true.
For the fourth time that morning I have my head down the toilet. There is nothing left to come up but my body doesn’t seem to know that. I’m so drained of all energy but I’ve made a promise to beat this thing, again. They haven’t given me a time frame, which is good, right?
“You alright?” asks my concerned mother. She looks tired too but she smiles at me and gently touches my back.
“Yeah, just great.” I reply sarcastically. I don’t mean to sound so harsh but sometimes it just comes out that way. I guess deep down I know she is the only person who will put up with me. The only one who will never leave, no matter how I treat her or how hard things become. Mothers have that special role, sometimes a gift but in this case, for her, a curse. Sadly I only ever tell her how much she means to me in cards on Mother’s day and her birthday. That’s just twice a year but I hope she knows that’s how I feel towards her every day.
“You alright?” I ask with concern for my only child, Andrew. I force a smile on my face as he turns his head away from the toilet bowl to look at me.
“Yeah, just great.” He looks drained and I forgive his harsh tone. I touch him gently on the back to acknowledge his suffering. I appreciate that we, as human beings, usually take our anger out on the ones we love the most. So I guess he loves me lots.
I help him to stand and I look him in the eye. We connect and I have the urge to tell him that everything is going to be all right but deep down I know it’s not. So instead I help him walk to his bed in which he has laid for weeks now as the cancer has a deeper and much more powerful control of his body but not his will to live.
“Can I get you anything? Should I make you some lunch?” I’m fussing with his sheets and I know he hates that but I just don’t know what else I can do to help him. I want to take care of him, I want to save him from the disease that is eating away at his life, and all I can do for him is cook his meals – which he can hardly stand to eat; wipe his chin after he violently vomits, sometimes for hours at a time, and fluff his pillows to stop his neck from becoming stiff, just another ache to his pained body.
“No.” He abruptly replies.
“OK. I’ll leave you be. Just call out if you change your mind.” I know he won’t. He’s stubborn like that. I sigh heavily and walk out. I turn as I reach his doorway to take a glimpse of my boy, so fragile and weak. Not the healthy 20 year old that he should be. What was it that I did wrong? He doesn’t deserve to suffer like this. He sees me looking at him and he turns his back to me. I want to tell him I love him but I’m scared that if I do that will mean this is the end.
I’m not hungry why doesn’t she understand that? No matter what food I eat my body will not heal. I am riddled with a disease that her love cannot cure, my will to live cannot beat and I hate it. I can see her in the corner of my eye standing in the doorway, looking at me with sadness and pain. I am ashamed that it is me that causes her this despair. I turn away from her so she cannot see the tears that well within my eyes. I am crying for her. I want to tell her I love her but I’m scared that if I do she’ll think I’m giving up.
I can’t walk or talk as the cancer has control of me. The pain in her eyes I can see and I don’t want to leave her so sad. How do I tell her I love her now that I cannot speak? How can she know that I am ok and I will meet her again someday? How can I tell her that the pain she feels is within me too because I am going to miss her so damn much? She’s taking me to the hospital today and I know my days are coming to an end. I am so scared of the sorrow I am leaving behind.
“We’ll just give him some morphine to ease his pain.” The nurse gently speaks to me. I nod my head although I want to scream and shout at them all to go away, to not touch my son, to help him, to bring him some life and not make him lifeless. I am at his beside as I have been for days. He no longer talks, he cannot get out of bed, and he is motionless. His breathing is shallow and I hang on to every breath he takes. I’m so scared that at any moment he will stop. I stroke his arm and I whisper over and over
again how much I love him. Please God let him hear me.
I feel so peaceful and safe. I can feel her stroking my arm and hear her soft and desperate cries. I can feel her silken tears touch my skin as she leans in to me whispering that she loves me over and over again. I feel lightness within and around me. I open my eyes to see what the warm glow is and it’s a beautiful ivory tower shining happiness and peace. I am going to be happy here, I think to myself. I will wait here for you to come and be with me. I’ll be at the top, I want to tell her. I look down at my mother with tears in her eyes and I whisper into her ear.
I cannot stop touching his skin. I want to warm him up and I am fussing over his sheets. I touch his head softly and I feel a lightness descend upon the room. I look up as he takes his last breath and in the silence of my pain I am sure I hear him say…
“I love you too.”