It was my sister, but come on, it’s been over a week.
Today, I gave my wife, Brenda, permission to give a me a Cher-like slap to the face saying, “Snap out of it.”
I have buried two parents. My wife lost a brother. We’ve been down the road before, so why has this loss hit me so significantly.
It’s a grand slam. First, it’s my little sister. Second, I’m the last one standing in the family. Third, she didn’t have a husband or local family, other than me. And fourth, sliding into home (literally), is the the PTSD around alcohol and my family that has existed my whole life.
First Base. As a big brother, you have this birthright responsibility to protect your younger siblings. I wasn’t able to do so here. What did I know? Should I have seen warning signs? How could I have helped? Was I enough of an advocate? For the most part, I feel like the “Yes’s” and the “No’s” align to the appropriate question, but those queries still bounce around in my head.
Rachelle’s health had been a struggle for years, according to her bedside doctors. The few signs I saw this spring, would not have made a difference. We had seen Rachelle monthly for haircuts, but during the pandemic, she was not comfortable coming over. That loss of regular connection resulted in not seeing any signs. Intermittent visits left intermittent excuses.
Second Base. From my family dinner table, I’m the last one standing. That just feels odd. We didn’t have a close extended family. I have an aunt and a couple cousins in California but most family have passed. Fortunately, I have married into a very large and well-connected family. All the while, I have felt “orphanish” since my last parent passed in 2004 and that feeling is only heightened in this season.
Third Base. Rachelle lived with a man for many years, but was not married. Her one daughter is young and lives out of state. I’ve been the arbiter between boyfriend and family, everyone and hospital, and am now figuring out how to wrap everything up and honor Rachelle well. I have received the emotional texts and phone calls, absorbed the tears, figured out the finances and tried to lift it all up to the Lord.
And sadly, Home. Everyone from my childhood dinner table had issues with addiction. I have co-journeyed through those addictions. My dad was the temper-filled drinker of my childhood. My poor mother, could never shake the demon that was alcoholism. I remember her drinking as a toddler and I certainly remember the upheaval of her drinking in my early adult years. These are not happy memories.
With our family journey, certainly neither me or my sister would have issues with alcohol. It’s too obvious. It’s full of negative energy. Co-dependency is a bear.
Who am I to complain? Life is hard. Death is real. Thank God for the health in me and my family. Thank God for the opportunity to experience Jesus in new ways. Thank God for the journey that I am on.
Dad passed in 1997 at 63. Mom passed in 2004 at 62. And my sister just died at 54. Bam, bam and boom.
Rounding the bases this time has been hard. There is no celebrating this grand slam.