It’s been raining a lot here. And all the little ponds and creeks and all the not so little rivers are on the verge, if not already, of spilling over onto streets and other low lying stuff. I like looking at the moving water. I drove my parents to look at a river that was very high. And then to a university owned sheep facility- because sheep are just cute. I was hoping that there would be lambs- but we didn’t see any. It was still a nice little reprieve. Nature can be pretty soothing. My daughter was on campus the other night with some friends and they took off their shoes, rolled up their pants and happily waded through a very deep puddle. A flood to some is a joy to others.
Being a parent and being a child at the same time is like living with two heads. Each one requires its own way of dealing with the world. If you’re interested in feeling exhausted, I recommend living with both heads and going full steam ahead. I’m starting to think that the two heads are going to eventually merge into one. At least for a minute or two. They seem to be growing more and more similar. I think. I think they will continue on this trajectory, heading towards sameness, until they collide. Then they’ll kind of high five each other, like two old friends walking by one another. Then they’ll keep going on their way. Eventually changing places. As my kid needs me less and less, my parents appear to need me more and more. In both cases, I try to act as covertly as possible. Try. Sometimes I can’t keep my big mouth shut.
I’ve been a single parent for about a decade. I chose to leave my marriage-ish thing. (My ex had a very, very hard time with the split. So much so that he moved. Far, far away. One thousand, three hundred and some change away.)
My sister died in her late twenties. She had a very aggressive stomach cancer. I think. We were not super close. I can say with equal amounts of happiness and regret that we were on the path to becoming close. I was making an effort. I was learning to really appreciate who she was. When we were children, we learned to be fairly competitive for the limited amount of affection that my parents were able to disburse. Once we got away from all living in the same space and had a few years of life under our belts, I think we started to realize that there was true affection for one another. Kindred spirits, if you will. And then she got sick. And then in less than a year she was dead. As in doornail. Whatever that means.
My parents and her husband managed things- and basically kept me in the dark- and/or I was in denial- or it was some sort of combination- that’s probably the most accurate. I’m sure they were going through there own shit. Her death hit me like, you know like a ton fucking bricks. Except that each of those bricks came one at a time. Sometimes landing right in my face. Sometimes the shoulder. Sometimes the groin. They still come from time to time- but seem to land in the extremities. My emotions, my internal, soulful insides are like a jenga tower. Made out of dried up bird and mouse bones, and hair and spit. One little breeze and it all comes tumbling down.
But being the sister doesn’t leave much room for grief. For external grief. That goes to the husband and the parents. Think about it. Have you known anyone who died? Of course the focus is on the spouse and the parents or the children. The siblings are like- an afterthought. And that’s probably how it should be. Maybe. It really depends on the family dynamic. Especially when everyone is an adult. But grief really is for children, partners and parents. That’s just how it is.
So I generally fly solo. And I think I like it that way.