Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Not Good Bye

This year, I almost decided not to go home for Christmas, because leaving again is so hard. And the older I get, the harder it becomes, because I am increasingly aware of how much is lost in the time between visits and how relentlessly time marches on.

I left home 20 years ago and essentially, for 20 years, I have been alone, without any kind of support system.

When I found out my fiancee was sleeping with my best friend, when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 22, when I was planning my wedding, expecting my first baby, giving birth and then ineptly, worriedly, frantically trying to care for a premature infant, suffering a life threatening illness with my second pregnancy, and trying to parent two amazingly smart children with learning disabilities....I have been alone for all of it.

I have missed out on all the family goings on. I have watched and worried from a distance as my mother grew ill, my aunt grew old, and my neice and nephews grew up in an instant.

I saw all of them moments after they were born. They were so beautiful; pink and squalling and perfect. And then, suddenly, the twins were four years old and my oldest nephew seven. He is so comically mature with his "dude"s and "awesome man"s. And I didn't get to see any of the sweetly silly in between.

So, as I said, each year it gets harder and harder to tear myself away. Some years, it seems that the emotional toll of leaving is almost more than the joy of arriving is worth. And even the happiness of being there is tainted by the knowledge that another good bye is looming.

But I can't not go. My boys have to know where and who I came from. I don't want my family, my home, my history to be a mystery to them. They have to know that their heritage is about more than hillbilly vernacular and bible beating. That's unfair, but if I'm honest, it's how I feel sometimes, particularly when my bitterness and resentment over the situation are boiling over.

So we go, and when we leave, I cry. And cry. And cry. I start to cry even before we leave, sobbing quietly into the pillow the night before our departure, so as not to wake my sleeping husband.

Last year, I cried silently all the way to Chicago, while my boys exchanged worried glances in the back seat and husband gripped the steering wheel tightly in concern. He is torn. He feels that he has to acknowledge my heartbreak, but he knows I would rather just be left alone with it.

Probably one of the worst things about leaving is leaving my sister. She was born before I was even old enough to understand what being without her was like. She has simply always been there. For 18 years we shared a room, whispering and giggling long into the night. For 36 years she has been my friend, my giggle mate, my co-conspirator, my secret keeper, and my dream believer.

She is truly....my best friend.

Last year, when I hugged her good-bye, my arms simply refused to disengage themselves from the embrace in which I held her. We held onto each other and sobbed helplessly as our husbands, children and parents looked on. And when at last we were able to let go, we had to hurry away from one another without looking back.

This year, she opted out.

She sent her husband over to collect her offspring and with him a message that she just couldn't face another good-bye, just couldn't spend another whole day weeping over something she couldn't change.

I was hurt, at first, but then I began to see the wisdom of her decision. If saying good-bye hurts so much...why do it??

I know that kicking the door frame in a fit of pique hurts a great deal, so I take care not to do that any more. And yet I continue to subject myself to emotional pain, that is no less real than the physical pain that I protect myself so carefully from. It seems a little silly, doesn't it?

Years ago, she gave me a book of poems called "My Sister, My Friend". I got it out today, hoping to find one that expresses all the things I feel about her and about leaving her. They are all woefully inadequate, either because they are pathetically schmaltzy, or because they just don't encompass what I feel is the truly unique and special nature of our relationship.

Someday, I will write one myself, full of all the meaning that a borrowed verse could never express. I'm a competent poet when I put my mind to it. But my heart is too heavy right now and the words are thickly wedged behind the giant lump in my throat.

So for now I'll just say...not good bye.

26 Comments:

  • At 4:21 PM, Anonymous AA said…

    I know this falls into the platitudes that are probably worthles category but...at least you have her. I have longed for a sister all my life. At least you can call her on the phone. At least you know she is out there. That is something! That is everything really.

     
  • At 4:54 PM, Anonymous flybunny said…

    I hope than one day my two oldest daughters (9 & 10) will feel the same way about each other. This gives me hope....

     
  • At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Unfit Mother said…

    I don't have a home to go back to. My family is all dispersed and estranged; but my sister and I are close. Home is a state of mind.

    It's where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there.

     
  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    This is heart-wrenching! I'm so glad you have your sister! (I wish I had one...)

    Carol

     
  • At 7:42 PM, Blogger anne said…

    I think what you wrote here is poetry enough.

    How very sad that you have to go through this - that you don't have access to each other more often, at least in a face to face way.

    There is nothing like a sister. Nothing.

     
  • At 8:26 PM, Blogger Rositta said…

    I don't have a sister or brother either, what I have is a grown up son and 4 grandchildren who currently live 3000 km away from us so I understand the pain of goodbyes. When they were small they lived 5000 km away and we rarely saw them. When my parents came here from Germany in 1956, my mother said goodbye to her parents and siblings and never saw them alive again. The Berlin Wall happened and as a result I have never been to my Mom's birthplace or met any of my cousins (except for one who came to Canada). I know it's not the same but maybe a webcam and a service like skype can help keep your family close? We just got one and now I can see me new grand daughter, oh the joy of technology. Sorry for the long comment, I didn't mean to ramble...ciao:)

     
  • At 10:01 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    Hon, I have no idea... my family is all within driving range, and I am thankful every day for that. I can't imagine the pain of truly not wanting to be so far away, but being there anyhow...

     
  • At 10:03 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    I understand but I also want to kick your sister's ass...because I would sell everything I own if I could see my sis one more time.

     
  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Oh, Mama... I feel your pain.
    My family is 1000 miles away in Indiana and I didn't get to go home this year for the holidays. Not being there was almost a fate worse than death. But, we didn't have to say good bye.
    Looking forward to reading your poetry...

     
  • At 3:53 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    Such a lovely post, my sister and i didnt become close until my brother died a long time ago, before that even though we shared a room etc we were pretty much strangers, now i wouldnt be without her xxx

     
  • At 3:58 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    Could you possibly tell me who wrote the book of poems from your sister?
    I have searched by title and im not sure i have found the right one!
    It's my sisters birthday in February...
    Pol x

     
  • At 7:26 AM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    I read this with great envy. That you have such love in your family of origin... Oh, how lovely.

    That said, loving like that leaves you vulnerable and open. And it must hurt having to be so far from loved ones.

    (BTW, love your list of pet causes. LOVE it!)

     
  • At 11:05 AM, Blogger Mamma said…

    What a wonderful post BA. Not because I relish in your sadness, but because it so beautifully conveyed your feelings.

    Sometimes leaving can be so so hard.

     
  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger we_be_toys said…

    Oh honey, I am so sad for you - I know it's hard to be torn in two directions.

    I was driving around Raleigh on the interstate the other day, and out of the blue, I suddenly felt like I was driving on the New York Thruway. I burst into tears - its been 4 years since I've gone home.

    I will be thinking of you today -

     
  • At 1:06 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    Sometimes not actually saying good bye is the best thing to do. I'm a big fan of see you soon, even if soon is a relative term. I know I'll see my loved ones again and because when we are together it is as comfortable as if we had never been apart it is sort of like soon if I pretend hard enough. If that is too silly talk to you soon also works well for me.

     
  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    Oh. BA. I wish things were different for you. I wish you could be closer to your sister and her family.

    I'm sorry.

    But I am glad that you have such a magical relationship with your sister.

     
  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger Rebecca said…

    I'm going to print this post and share it with my husband. THIS, your relationship with your sister, is the very reason why I refuse to have an only child. You will forever have her in your life. I have nothing close to that, and it makes me sad. I want desperately for my daughter to have a sibling who many years from now, will still be her secret keeper.

     
  • At 4:11 PM, Blogger Anjali said…

    This is beautiful.

    My brother and I were on the phone earlier today talking about how nice it would be to be neighbors. He's in Rhode Island, I'm in Georgia. Our kids are growing up without each other. It's sad.

     
  • At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Heidi (minnesotamom.wordpress.com) said…

    Wow. Hard stuff. I would love to hear the poem when you write it. I hope you post it.

     
  • At 1:20 AM, Blogger jen said…

    oh honey.

     
  • At 1:41 AM, Blogger Jaelithe said…

    You have such a beautiful relationship with your sister.

    My sister lives twenty minutes away, and there are times I feel like it might as well be twenty thousand miles.

    I miss what we have never had. Perhaps it is a little better to miss what you HAVE had, even if it hurts.

     
  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    If I could wish your life back there I would...

     
  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Mad Hatter said…

    This is beautifully written, BA. I too live far from my family--my complex mass of siblings. I try to break down barriers by phoning, Facebooking and having them read the blog when they're interested. It does a little but never enough.

     
  • At 7:35 PM, Blogger ~Nancy~ said…

    You wrote MY post. Really.
    I moved 800 miles away from my sister over 4 years ago...when I also sent my only daughter several hundred miles, in the other direction, to college. My heart broke and the pieces continue to bleed and weep to this day.
    I just left my sister a couple of days ago and fought hot tears for 13 hours as I drove. I have called her daily. I miss her but not as much as I did as I held her in my arms Monday morning.
    I was with her when she had surgery 2 days after Christmas...surgery that was scheduled for that very time so I would be there to take care of her. My sister has aged 10 years over the last year and I worry about her so much. I am blessed with robust, saucy, good health and she is plagued with several serious ailments. I just can't even think about it most days.
    Please know I share your emotions and that even when it hurts the most, we are blessed beyond measure for feeling the depth of sisterly love that we have. My sister is my family, my all, my everything. We are orphans now and we have each other to fill those voids. It hurts but it is better than not feeling at all. Hugs and love sent to you. And no good byes...just "until we are together again."

     
  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I hope your sister knows you have a blog b/c this is beautiful.

     
  • At 8:50 AM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    Fairly Odd Mother has a Very Good Idea.

    Share this with your sister.

     

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