2016: My year of bereavement

Mary, my younger sister, and Carol, my mother, at my older sister’s wedding

In the last 13 months, my heart has been hit again and again. I keep hoping the hits will stop coming, but they haven’t yet. I am bereaved. I am at a loss.

In September, 2015 my step-mother Terri died. She had cancer, so it was expected, but it hurt. It hurt to hear the pain in my father’s voice. It hurt to hear the pain in my younger sister’s voice. It hurt my heart to see what my step-sisters were going through. My heart overflowed with love for all the people who stepped in to support them and to support me.

When Terri died, my mother (Carol) had been in the hospital for two months and was in the middle of moving to a nursing home. The move didn’t go well. My mother never really got better. She would get better some, and then get sick again. She fell, then she fell again.

In early January, 2016 came the call I didn’t want to answer and my older sister didn’t want to make. My mother was in the hospital and not doing well.

And then two days later, she was gone. My mother. The woman whom I loved, but didn’t always like. The woman who knew how to push our buttons. The woman who wasn’t always easy to like, but who loved the three of us. After the call from my older sister, I played middle child. I called our dad and gave him the news. I called my younger sister. We all grieved and didn’t know what to do. Two women gone.

We held Carol’s memorial this summer. It was the first time in over a decade that all three of us girls were in the same place at the same time. We talked, we took care of things. We hugged. We got through it. Hearts lifted and hearts broke.

There were other disasters this year. My knees got worse and got better. My husband’s eye problems got worse. Then they got a lot worse. Through every hit on my heart, I thought “I don’t know how much more I can take.”

Tuesday morning, I found out how much more I would have to take. My little sister died. She wasn’t any sicker than she had been when we were together. In fact, things were going better for her and her husband. Today was to be their fifth wedding anniversary. Tuesday morning he woke up, she wasn’t there. Her body was in the bathroom. Her spirit had flown.

I am helping as I can. My father, her husband, her daughter, her friends, her sisters (both of us), our cousin. We are all stunned. Bereaved. Lost. We chat on FB. We text. We talk on the phone. We all wonder when we will wake up.

I have support. Good friends far and near. A husband who understands. People I can lean on. People who understand. I have the ability to write about my losses. I have ways to get through each day. We all do.

But this afternoon, it hit me again. I wrote this week’s one-line poem: Backstabber. I let my pain show. And I touched someone else’s heart. (Ms. Tremaine L. Loadholt — your note meant so much to me.) Knowing that I could write something opened my soul enough to let this pour out.

I have lost a lot this year. I am sure the bereavement won’t end soon. But, with help, I can write my way through this time. I can come out the other side. I may not be who I was, but I will still be me.

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