December 17, 2012

Lessons from Linda

Filed under: Memory Eternal,My Sister Linda — Ann @ 5:49 pm

My Sister Linda

As I write this, my 64-year-old sister, Linda, has just been taken off life support (or, as the medical team called it, “transitioned to comfort care”). In what is probably a most extraordinary case of more fortune than I deserve, I have never before experienced the loss of someone deeply, profoundly close to me, and never before a member of my immediate family. My parents, thankfully, are nearing 90 years old and (knock wood) quite strong and healthy.

One thing I have learned from the past few days is that you learn from death, or near-death, from the moment it enters your awareness. I’ve been on this planet for many years and yet, in the span of over 48 hours, since I first found out that my sister collapsed and was in a coma, I have grown in awareness at exponential rates. Some of the lessons learned — in fact, most of them — are too personally painful to discuss.

But one thing can be revealed: I now know what I will no longer say to others who are grieving. Because for most of my adult life, when someone I knew lost someone they loved, I wrote on the carefully chosen sympathy card, “May sweet memories bring you comfort” or variations thereof, believing that would actually be the case. And maybe that is true for others. But for me, I’m learning that memories of Linda do NOT in fact bring comfort — they only bring fresh pain, a new wave of tears, and a ferocious stabbing sensation to the heart. Who could have known this? Please don’t misunderstand: I don’t mind if people say it to me, because I know the sentiment is manifested love and shining intention, which I accept with a grateful, humble heart. But it’s something I will no longer be writing or saying to others because now….well, now I understand.

Perhaps someday memories of Linda will indeed bring comfort. Right now, the only thing that gives me comfort is, well, nothing. Nothing except the fantasy of turning the clock back a week when I was certain I’d be seeing my sister on Christmas Eve, and we would be exchanging big hugs and how are yous and I love yous and all of the comforting rituals.

I’m just beginning to learn, and this is one thing I know now that I didn’t know before. It’s something my big sister taught me.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress Hosted by