On Saturday, 2 April, 2011, my sister injected herself with an overdose of insulin. Her roommate found her unconscious in her room.
She has suffered from anorexia, depression, and anxiety for most of her life. In the last five years, she added bulimia to the mix. She has been in rehab twice.
She has also been running marathons and triathlons for the past decade. She always places in the top five, usually winning her age group.
The mind over the body is an incredible thing. It can be a terrible thing.
My mom asked me when the last time she was happy. I don’t know. She never found a way to love herself. Ever.
But even all of her unhappiness… it can never fill the void her absence will leave.
I never felt like she committed herself to getting better. I always felt like she was looking for a quick fix, whether that was rehab or religion. Or a boyfriend. I always said she needed to find a way to fix herself, that she just needed to finally put in the goddamn work. I never felt like she was committed to putting in the goddamn work.
Maybe she just couldn’t. Maybe I never understood.
I have to tell myself there is nothing we could have done, that we did what we could. She
is was 28 years old. An adult. We tried. We did what we could. Her way-in-over-her-hear therapist (someone I swear my sister chose because the woman was in over her head and wouldn’t challenge her – but what do I know?) basically told us we couldn’t do anything. That we needed to figure out how not to put our shit, our worries, our concerns, on my sister.
I had two appointments this week, trying out two different therapists. To figure out how to have a relationship with my sister. When she wouldn’t listen to me. When she wasn’t doing anything to help herself. When she would tell me her nutritionalist had her on a maintenance diet. Not a weight gain diet. When she decided she was done with Half Iron Mans, she was going to train for the Real Deal.
To figure out how to be her sister. How to help her, how to support her… Because we had stopped talking about her disorder. When we did, we just fought.
These are the worse days of my entire life. These are going to be the worse days of my entire life.
I don’t know how to do this.
She’s in a coma. She’s on a respirator and life support… but there has been no improvement. There will be no improvement. And being with her is… agonizing. It pulls us apart again. Yet how can we not be with her?
We will take her off the respirator on Thursday to see if she can breathe on her own. If she cannot, we can donate her organs – something she explicitly asked for. If not… after one hour, her organs are no longer viable for donation.
She will probably be able to breath on her own. But she will not off of life support. She will remain in a vegetative state. She would never ever have wanted to live her life in a bed in a nursing home. Ever. I can’t think of a more terrible thing. She wanted her organs donated. She wanted to at least save someone else – but that probably won’t even happen. She never wanted this. She would never have meant this.
And. In this day and age, there are laws against allowing someone to die. There are doctors who will refuse to remove someone from life support if they breathe on their own.
I don’t know how it could be worse. I can’t believe this is happening.
Before I left on the 3am bus to catch a 6am flight to the west coast, my friend Shakira (obviously not her real name – but she’s from Colombia and Shakira isn’t the only one with hips like that) held my face in her hands and said “You have to be strong now. For your parents, you have to be strong.”
They are falling apart. My parents are falling apart. Unraveling. At the seems. Before my eyes.
I don’t know how to handle my parents’ grief. I don’t know how to do that. But I have to. I have to be strong. I have to be here for them. All that I feel… can’t begin to touch what they do.
No sister should find they are an only child at age 30. But… No parent should outlive their children.
That’s all I have. I didn’t know I was going to even write this.
I do know I am unable to post. I don’t know when I will be able to again. It’s possible I may post about things, when I need to say them. I’ve always used writing as a way to get things out. I’ve kept a journal off and on since I was little.
But I don’t want a blog about grief.
And to everyone I read – I so enjoy reading your posts, but I can’t for awhile. I won’t be on twitter.
When I started this blog, one thing I never expected was the community of people I would find. Who support each other, care about each other, read each other’s thoughts, converse, discuss, argue… even though some of you have never met and will never meet in person.
Thank you so much for bringing me into this community, the one I never expected to find.
And finally, I ask you:
Find some happiness today. Some joy. Even if only a little. It is there, somewhere.
Love yourself. Love your world. Love your life. Love your body. Love who you are, and not so that someone else will. FOR YOU. For fuck’s sake, so much of our world is about other people. Not only about making them happy, but about finding them, making ourselves someone they will love, they will want to be with. About being too fat, or too thin, or too much ass or too little ass, or not enough boobs. About wondering why we are not the person they want to be with. And all of that, all of it, can be at our own expense.
It ignores our own life. It ignores all the things that make us happy. They ignore the things we should do so that we are better people, happier people, making the most of what we have been given. Other people are a part of that – but not the sole focus. Why do we forget that so easily?
Every day – find that love and that happiness. Even on the bad hair days and the fat days. Even when traffic is a bitch and it won’t stop raining. Even when it feels impossible. Even if it’s just a glimmer and just for a moment.
Tomorrow and the next day and the next. For everyone who loves you. For you.
And today? Find it for my sister. Because she never could.