Since my sister’s death, I’ve started to write about my life growing up. There’s so much my kids don’t know. I don’t want the memories to be lost. Someday I might not be able to recall the special things. For about the past eleven years, I’ve written the Christmas letter partially to be a history to help us remember the years and keep a copy for us. I don’t remember where I saw that tip (I think in a magazine), but it’s a good one. I put in things which are important to me, sprinkle in humor because we laugh a lot as a family, and hopefully the family and friends who receive a copy aren’t bored stiff. But hey, it’s really for me anyway and everyone reading it is actually eavesdropping.
It’s odd getting used to the fact that I no longer have a sister living. I haven’t been able to call my BIL yet. Sis and I didn’t speak frequently. There’s an age gap of five and a half years and other differences which kept us from being super close. I’m glad my kids have the closeness that my sis and I didn’t. It helps that my oldest had just turned four when my youngest was born, and the girls are just over a year apart. There was a gag gift I almost took to Christmas at Mom’s because it made me think of sis, but then it brought tears to my eyes as I pictured her laughing and flinging it around.
My female yearly was last week and I had to update my doctor on sis and get an appointment to check out a new lipoma in my breast. I didn’t expect the doctor appointment to nail my emotions, but I should have thought about it. I’ve got several lipomas and have to stay on top of things because of sis’s cancer. I’m okay, but each new lump brings a tinge of fear, even though I know it’s probably just another harmless lump. There’s always the niggling in the back of the brain as the ultrasound is in progress. (What is she measuring? Is that bad? What’s that thing? Why did she turn on the heat sensor thingy?)
The kids are doing well. As I said, sis and I weren’t super close and they live several hours away from us. We usually met at Mom’s, and the kids would all gather in the basement and entertain each other.
I talk about sis more now. I’ve done the same since Dad died two years ago. Maybe I don’t want them to be forgotten by the kids, or me, or maybe it’s just how I cope.
Mom has said that she’s ready to go any time. She just had a physical and said that she’s “disgustingly healthy”. Her female relatives are long lived. Her mom and several aunts were in their 90’s when they passed, and one of her aunts saw 103. Mom’s 75. I get that it’s been awful for her to lose Dad to cancer, then lose her daughter to cancer just two years later, but she does have six grandchildren to watch grow up, find a career path, marry, have children, etc. I don’t remind her of that, though, because the last thing I want to do is tell her how to feel.
Life will get easier and tears won’t surprise me one day. I need to keep writing the memories of growing up. They aren’t all rosy and sweet but they’re all important. I had forgotten until the other day that my sister is the one who first taught me to read (the age gap was useful here). I was four and hadn’t started school, but for some reason we had a couple of “Dick and Jane” books that she helped me with.
Sis showed me that sticking sewing pins in Barbie’s head allowed you to style her hair.
Sis pretended to be a ghost talking to me through the registers of our very old house (Sears Roebuck catalog order) where you can look through the register to the room on the other side of the wall.
She created a “property” line in the forty acre field behind our house and told me I needed permission to cross said line. (Dad asked what the fabric strips tied to the thorn bushes were for about ten or fifteen years ago.)