You guys are just going to have to forgive me as I struggle with some intense emotions over the next couple of weeks. With Christmas Eve being the first anniversary of my sister’s passing, I am almost daily encountering anniversaries of one aspect or another of her final days.
Today was a big one!
It was a year ago today that my Mom, Dad, and I staged an intervention of sorts. Michelle was getting weaker, more confused, and was making some pretty scary mistakes. We needed to convince her to slow down, let go of some of the control, and to let us worry about details while she worried about resting and living her last few days to the fullest.
I remember feeling like I was talking to a toddler, only more like a person acting like a toddler that you expect to act like a semi-grown adult. I remember getting so frustrated with her trying to understand what we were asking of her. I remember her making lists…list after list of her trying to organize the information we had given her into something she could process.
I remember being SO ANGRY!!
I also remember yelling at her…over and over…that she was going to die, that she wasn’t going to get better, that she needed to let us help her. I remember my parents’ letting me drive the hard line, even for just that moment, and wondering if they thought I was the monster that I felt like. How do you reconcile your guilt when you vividly remember screaming at a nearly dead girl that she was not going to survive this one?
I think I let out all of my anger over the situation and let her and her denial have it. Even as I was screaming these horrible things at her, I remember it feeling good. It didn’t feel good to yell at her, but it did feel good to yell, to be angry, and to really shake my fists. I also, remember the feeling of crushing failure, because the louder I got the more stubborn her denial proved to be.
I am not sure I ever got the best of her denial, and I am not sure there was enough of her left to get her feelings hurt by my anger. I am sure that I will never forget the feeling of screaming at her denial and knowing full well that I would never fully face my own.
I didn’t allow myself to believe that I was going to sing her song for the last time, I never acknowledged the crushing reality that I was going to miss her smart ass, skinny, fingernail having self, and I never in my wildest dreams did I think she was capable of surrender. She had defied all odds too many times for me to ever truly face the reality what was to come.
Even still, on days like today, I am sure she hasn’t surrendered…that she hasn’t gone anywhere…and she still loves to pick a fight, (I swear to you that it was she who planted the fingernail reference above). It is a year later and I am still in denial. I still hope to sleep the hard days away, and I am still so very angry. I guess I know where she learned how to be super stubborn with denial, but then again, I don’t think I hold exclusive rights to that claim.