Posts Tagged ‘ on death and dying ’

Hospital Food

“Just a little something for the pain. Hospital food getting you down?”

Something I recently thought of…

While my sister was in the hospital, she received three meals a day. Actually, they weren’t too bad. Sometimes she would eat. Sometimes she would not. We would pick out the food that she would be willing to eat, and leave the rest for whomever sat with her for the day. (She would usually have an assortment of crackers and desserts left over).

Three times a day, she would also receive a popular liquid food supplement. (What I have failed to mention in this story is that my father also has stage 4 colon cancer). She would drink it every now and then, but more often than not, she would send the unopened cans home with either my husband or myself to take to Daddy.

Sometimes, the food trays would pile up. Breakfast into lunch; and lunch and snacks into dinner…

At the time I did not realize how comforting just seeing those piled up trays could be. I did not realize it until the day those trays stopped coming. One day there was no breakfast tray. No lunch tray. No dinner tray.

Funny. I can not remember the last conversation I had with my sister. The very last thing I remember saying to her was this: “Would you like a spoonful of spaghetti?” She nodded her head, as if to say “Yes”.

“Are you not hearing a word I say?”
“She sounds so different on the phone. I just sink like a stone”

And as I put the spoon to her lips, she seemingly drifted off to sleep. I don’t recall her ever being awake again after that. Without my realizing it at the time, she had begun her final descent into that “long, dark night.” If I knew then what I know now, I would not have let her drift off. I would have chattered on endlessly about any and everything to her. I would have done this…I would have done that…

It was not too long after this episode, that the trays stopped coming.

One day there was no breakfast tray. No lunch tray. No dinner tray.

And so it finally hit me: As long as those trays kept coming, it meant that there was hope.

I miss hospital food.

“Tell me something
Tell me something
I don’t already know…”


This House Is Empty Now

“These rooms play tricks upon you
Remember when they were always filled with laughter “

This house is empty now.

My husband took a picture of my late sister’s living room and brought it back home for me to look at. By the time the picture had been taken, I had vowed never to go back to that house again. There are many things that I can write and/or say about this situation, but they will have to be said and/or written after all parties involved either die or go back to their respective planet(s). That being said…there will be many things that the world will never know.

I looked at the photo. My sister would not have liked for her living room to look like this.

“It’s funny how the memory will bring you so close… then make you disappear “

I had gone back a few times to help clean things up and clear things out, but have since left the task for my mother to complete. Too many disagreements over “who gets what”. Mind you, the disagreements were never about the monetary value of any of the “stuff”, but were based mostly on control and distribution. On my last visit to the house, on a day when Mom was not there, I asked my husband and son to wait out in the car while I said my last “goodbye” to the house and to whatever little was left of my sister that still remained within. As I stood alone in the middle of the floor with tears streaming down my cheeks saying my “goodbye”; I felt mad, glad, sad ….all at the same time. But mostly I felt “had”. Yep, you heard it right…”had”. My sister had left us alone to deal with this…this emotional mess! Sure, she had her financial house in order; but we were emotionally left “ holding the bag”

My sister died of stage 4 mestas…stststic , mestsatstsat… “however-the-heck-you-spell-it” breast cancer. For it to have gotten so far along, meant that she at least had some inkling that “sumthin’ wern’t right” some time beforehand. She never told us.

We loved that girl. We love that girl. Her home was the place of many good times and family gatherings.

“This house is empty now. There’s no one living here you have to care about “

Although my husband still makes sure that the lawn is regularly mowed, and the hedges trimmed, I haven’t been by the place in a while. And from what my husband and Mom tell me, everything has been pretty much cleared up inside as well . My sister’s clothes and shoes have been tried on, picked over and/or shipped out. Her household items have been divvied up, the remaining furniture has been put back into place; and the house is almost ready to be put on the market for sale. When I used to visit the house regularly, in the days immediately following her death, I could literally feel my sister’s spirit seeping out with each visit . There is one thing I know for sure…there is “something” that can actually be felt when a home is lived in; and the person doesn’t have to actually be on site for this feeling to occur. It is more or less a “knowing” of whether a place is inhabited or not. Make no mistake about it…. although her house may appear to look lived in; everything that made my sister’s house a home is now gone. Despite the cheery flowers and well kept exterior…

This house is empty now. ..

So am I… and so am I…

Sometimes Goodbye is A Second Chance

“My eyes are open wide, …and by the way I made it through the day.”

“The girls.” “My girls.” “The sisters.” Those “[insert family name]” girls. “M and B’s daughters.” “J’s sisters”….etc;

But now, she is dead.

My sister and I were close. Very close. So close, in fact that it had been said that you would “never see one without the other.” We were always spoken of in singular terms; as if we were one and the same; or at the very least…somehow joined “at the hip”.

Although I was?/am? (still not sure which term to use now) the eldest; it always felt as if there were no age differences between us. We were the ultimate complement to each other. When we grew into adulthood, we left the family home, and moved into an apartment together… In fact, lived together for five years. It was a fabulous five years, filled with fun and happiness. We only split because I got married; leaving her to live alone by herself. But we were still “the girls”. When I married, my new husband fit right in, and although we lived separate lives, the three of us often traveled and did things together.

As time passed, (8 years) I added a new baby to the mix. He also fit right in. In fact, she bought a car seat to have in her car at all times. She loved that child. She seemed happy enough, but now I begin to wonder. She had lots of friends, everyone loved her, and she seemed to be everything; a one all-inclusive package: Successful, self-sufficient, well-traveled…You know?

After she died, I started to wonder just how much each of our identities were tied in with that of the other. She and I were part of a matched set. While I had my husband and child to go home to each evening , I often still wonder what she really felt when she went home alone. Because of her being single, she was able to spend lots of time with my parents; and as a result she became extremely close to them; and they to her. When she died, she left them with a void so huge, that I doubt will ever be filled in this lifetime. As I fumble around and try to do many of the things that she seemed to do effortlessly; this leaves me feeling inadequate; and feeling somewhat like the “spare” daughter.

“Tell my mother, tell my father…I’ve done the best I can”

“The girls.” “My girls.” “The sisters.” “Those girls.” “M and B’s daughters”…

And so now the question left to be answered is this:

“Without my sister, who the hell am I now!!?”

“I’m not angry, I’m just saying…Sometimes goodbye is a second chance
“Here is my chance…This is my chance!”