Saturday, July 18, 2009

Failed

At the risk of sounding completely crazy... I see dead people. I know there's some sort of psycho-babble term for it; "ghosting" or something of that sort. So if it has a term then perhaps I'm not completely crazy. Right?

My most confused and contorted feelings of recent years are in regards to losing my sister and my mother. I like saying that I lost them; like we were all at a shopping mall and we got separated within the clothes racks at Macy's. But we didn't. I actually didn't lose them at all. They left.

It's been nearly four years since my baby sister ended her torment on her own terms. She always refused to confront the truth about our childhood, our home, and our family. Instead I was the crazy one; the angry sister; the disgruntled daughter. She and my mother routinely joined forces in an attempt to cover my truth and twist them into lies. It hurt. Hurt like it did as a child when I was told that even if I did tell, no one would believe me. In the end it was lies that killed my sister. My mother too.

My sister shot herself in the head. I have since learned that that act is uncommon for a female to carry out. I think it shows the enormity of her pain. She lingered in this world for a few days. Long enough for me to sit by her side and listen to my mother spew that she wished it had been me in that bed. Long enough for my father to make passes at me; at the fucking hospital of all places where my sister, his daughter, was approaching death. Sarcasm: my family reeks of appropriateness.

My mother exited this world a few days later. Overdose. The hateful part of me wonders all too clearly if she just couldn't stand to be upstaged by my sister. I went from a painful existence within a family to nothing. I was alone with my daughter and I couldn't get away from my father fast enough. As ugly as it sounds, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had a real chance for a life.

I went to work the days after both their deaths. I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't wrap my mind around who to grieve for first. Do I do it in death order? By age? By who I loved the most? I've been told that those feelings are referred to as complex grief. "Complex" is a polite word for you have a fucked up family and now they are dead.

What they did is called a suicide cluster. I can't lie and say that I wasn't tempted to join their exclusive little group. I saw that their problems went away. But in reality their problems might have disappeared but a whole new set of problems were pushed onto me. Ultimately, I knew that I couldn't pile my own problems upon my sweet daughter.

For nearly a week I have been seeing my sister. Not as I would like to remember her either. She stands there, holding a piece of her skull, brains, and blood in her hands. She is asking me to fix her head. I can barely stand to look at her and the ugly part of me wants to tell her to fuck off. Nice, I know. But she did it to herself and I am so very tired of cleaning up messes that only hurt me more in the end. I told her the other night in therapy to go away because I couldn't help her. My therapist said that I did good a good job. She left but I am still struggling with my response to her.

I always took care of her. I brought my father upon myself to keep him away from her. When she was very young, I would get her out of her own toddler bed and put her into bed with me. I wasn't more than 6 years old but in my child's mind I believed that we would be safe together. We were until he came in and moved her over to get to me. But when he was done, at least I knew that she was with me and he would not be walking into her room next.

I need to stop here because in many ways, I still feel that in her death the ultimate statement was made that I failed to protect her; failed to keep her safe. I'll pick this up later when I can string my words together in a sequence that makes sense because right now, everything is getting very jumbled up...

8 comments:

Annie Coe said...

Oh hon, your stroy just gets more awful and my heart breaks for you. If your sister comes back tell her to go to the light (I read that somewhere). You were a brave and good sister and daughter, they were the messed up ones not you. Sending hugs and love.

English Rider said...

When there is something that we truly cannot change, we need to accept that and set it aside, for self-preservation. You cannot go back and change the suicides of your family. Preserve yourself. Grieve by all means, but look forward, not back. Does your sister have a memorial or special place you shared where you can go to honor her memory? Take your daughter with you, Tell her funny stories about her aunt and add new memories to help heal the old.

svasti said...

I am so sorry for your sad and terrible experiences. Your father's behaviour was truly abhorrent.

I too, grew up with a strong need to protect my sister, but in this life I feel like she's actually been the stronger one. But we've shared many lifetimes together before, this is something I know for a fact. Maybe you and your sister have similar karma in that way?

But you bear too much. Suicide is always tough for those left behind and as you point out, creates just as many problems as it solves. The burden is just transferred. And that is so incredibly unfair after everything you've been through!! I'm angry on your behalf, even if you can't be!!

Sounds like you need to have a few words with your sister. Honest, straight down the line. Even if she doesn't stop haunting you for a bit, hopefully you can transform your vision of her to one that's more loving, more peaceful.

It must have been hard for her to be that small girl, pushed aside while your father did what he did.

I wish you and your sister peace.

mtyler77 said...

Oh, my dear--I so know your pain. We have traveled much of the same (albeit a different) path in our lives. My sister lives in denial of our childhood to this day--and I do not. She deals with it through carrying a little song in her mind, "Everything is fine, everything is fine, everything is fine." She just cannot cope any other way.

One thing I do want to tell you is that you did not fail your sister. The people who hurt the two of you as children failed you but YOU did not fail her. We cannot heal the world--we can only try to heal ourselves.

You honor your sister's memory by blogging and connecting with the many other who suffer. You did not fail.

Melinda

Shattered said...

Annie, thank you for your kind words. I do know that I am not the messed up one; it just gets hard sometimes to not feel messed up when I begin to feel the weight of their burdens. Telling my sister to go towards the light... that is a wise suggestion. She deserves to move that way instead of lingering in the state she is in now.

Shattered said...

English, yes my sister does have a memorial. I have only been a few times to visit only because it is so painful. I have had a very hard time admitting that she is gone but I feel like I am beginning to move forward in accepting it. I hope that very soon I will be able to celebrate who she was and what she meant to me instead of the pain that our relationship has seemed to represent to me.

Shattered said...

Svasti, you always have such a wise and beautiful way with your words. I know that even if my sister was not hurt as much as I was by my father; she was hurt equally in other ways. I truly hope that we will both find the peace that we both sought as children and even into our adult lives. We were born into chaos by no fault of our own and because of that, I can understand why she did what she did. I have spent much of this week seeking peaceful memories I have of her. Perhaps I will share some of those later...

Shattered said...

Melinda, "everything is fine..." was the song I marched to for many years. My heart is sad to read that your sister still does. Honestly, as hard as healing is, walking in denial was much more difficult; that's been my experience at least...

You are so very right about not being able to heal the world; thank you for that reminder. I do hope that in some simple way, I will be able to honor the lives my sister and I have lived by sharing with others my own healing process.

Thank you for the reassurance that I did not fail. That brought tears to my eyes...