Limbic Girl, episode 4: My Sister, Wendy
Good mourning. Let's have a little mugtime.
Emotionally worn. Right? That's how it feels, after a funeral.
Or after saying goodbye for the last time.
I know I won't see you again.
There was another Last this week, unexpected.
My response was to write.
I wrote so many words in response to hearing that my sister Wendy passed away last week.
Well, she's my husband's sister.
And my husband is not here anymore.
So, is she my sister?
When his brother died last summer, it didn't feel like this. WE was not yet decided.
Though I am no longer listed as Loving Family,
for me, she will always be.
I will love her always.
I am not Loving Family, but the Whitings are still to me.
My perspective on the word Family is perhaps a bit unconventional.
Blood is not required.
In fact, blood has never been a great reason to accept one as family.
I've read repeatedly Wendy's text messages sent to me in the last six weeks.
One, she said: "You will ALWAYS be my 1st sister - no matter what. Been thinking of you and your new adventure in life."
She had many questions for me, but was afraid to ask, as it wouldn't be "appropriate."
I don't know what that means.
Not appropriate to be close anymore?
Having external guidelines for Family is foreign to me.
I'm not a fan of them in most situations.
This is in Reaction to my childhood situation.
But I realize we are not all built that way.
Can we choose who we love and care for, even if others choose not to?
This has been hard.
Loss of love by choice feels very different than losing complimentary relationships by a societal line in the sand.
Maybe it's not societal.
Maybe it's chosen.
Either way, I've lost a sister, and brothers and a mother and a father.
What follows is the remainder of what I wrote for her.
I removed many
reflections and projections
that applied to my life, and not to hers.
"Twenty-seven years ago, Wendy came to get ready with me before my wedding,
just her and me.
We laughed in front of the mirror, as we put on makeup and gave up on our hair.
That summer, there was a disagreement, and I asked her to go walk with me.
“Let’s go walk.”
I took her by the hand and we went out the door.
We stepped out into the sun—it was dry, warm and breezy.
There were flowers on Maple Lane.
We talked. I asked her questions about what she was feeling, and we talked about options of how to cope with it. It was just a simple thing, twisting how we thought about things so that it didn’t hurt as much.
It was a beautiful walk and a beautiful day.
She loved calling us sisters for 27 years.
She liked fun, affectionate love—hugs and cheek kisses.
She liked to spend time together and laugh.
She loved her nieces and nephews. She planned visits and prepared fun activities, and held them.
I’m so grateful to have had Wendy as my sister.
I am grateful to have been a Whiting."
My abused-child brain wants to make up a story about losing them because of something
I did wrong.
Or that I was not enough somehow.
That maybe they are relieved.
But I know that's not true.
Because they are much too kind for that.
Closer to the truth is probably this: news of our separation and pending divorce is probably very sad.
They are concerned for Steve.
The situation is awkward and new and uncomfortable.
Another truth: they were my family for over half of my life.
I really needed one, after moving across the country, and leaving my adopted family after only a year.
I felt lonely.
In marrying Steve, his mother was my mother.
We lived nearby for eight years.
I've only been a Lowe a year longer than I've been a Whiting.
Today's Deep Breathe: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
My husband stated at the funeral:
"The opportunity to spend those moments is not infinite. We should behave accordingly. The chance to share a meal or a hug, or to say I Love You, doesn't last forever."
In the numb, after a loss, I walk and notice others. At the store, in the lots.
What losses are they experiencing?
Each life has all these moving parts.
Get acquainted with all the feelings.
They won't break you.
They're just vibrations and chemicals in your body resulting from a thought.
They usually pass quickly, if your mind is clear.
One at a time.
Tell your people: My part of this relationship is _______.
This is what I feel for you.
I'm so grateful to know you, that your light shines on me.
Hopeful for more time.