I visited my Sister last Saturday, She was alert and was happy that I’d come to see her. We chatted about little things for an hour or so and I held her hand. It’s always been a pleasure to hold hands with my parents or Jan, we were close like that. Her hand was warm.
Due to a stroke a couple of days earlier, she had gone blind. She thought, and hoped that all it was, was a severe migraine, as she’d been having a few beauts in the last month or so, but the doctors felt that she’d been having mild strokes all along.
I was with my neighbour in his renovated garage yesterday, where he sleeps and uses his computer when I got a phonecall from my teary Grand-Niece, April, Who gave me the bad news that Jan had passed on.
I felt sorry for April, as Jan and her had been very close. I had memories of being a child, fearing that one or both of my parents might die, and felt somewhat lucky that I was grown up before I lost Dad, and it was another nine years before I’d lose my Mother.
Dad was in hospital with Cancer, He’d been a big bloke, as strong as an ox, and now skinny and weakened, with catheters and drips hanging into and from him, what the cancer had done to him was utterly awful. I had been in tears going in to see him… which had been difficult as my own health wasn’t the greatest either, It would be eight years before I found out why I felt the way I did.
When Dad passed away, I thought I’d cry, but I didn’t cry much… and I should be, shouldn’t I?
Someone suggested that perhaps I was mourning while Dad was sick, I’d cried it all out then and there was nothing left.
Years later I was dreaming that I was on a grassy hill, by a grave, and Danny Boy was playing, it was so strange that the words spoke to me like they did, it wasn’t a song that I liked all that much and certainly wouldn’t have been playing on my radio as I always had it set to a rock station.
The song, at least in my mind, was sung by a Father to his Son, the Father had died and was in his grave. He was hoping that his Son would go out and prosper in the World, but asked that now and then that his Son thinks of him and pays him a visit.
I saw the whole scene from above, as though it was filmed from a helicopter, it was beautiful, and it was then that I cried my hardest.
2005 was perhaps the worst.
My beautiful Malamute, Benny, had cancer, and I still remember him crying in agony, he couldn’t move anymore, and his cries sounded like “Oh no, Oh no, Oh no” they cut into my like a knife.
I held him as the vet gave him that final needle, I felt absolutely crushed, he was my baby, I cried for the next few weeks.
I’d discovered blood coming from my bottom, and that began my own battle which took the better part of that awful year.
Then in 2006, My Mum passed away, I think it was cancer. She’d lost a lot of weight and was so thin. I wanted her to see a doctor long before this, but she had always refused.
One day she went to have her ears checked at the place where she’d get her hearing aids adjusted, and I waited for her. When her doctor came out, he whispered to me that there was a tumor in her ear and that he was sorry… I didn’t quite catch, or expect that, I tried to get him to repeat himself, but al he said was “I’m Sorry”.
I told Mum, but again, she refused to see a GP.
Eventually I did get her to go, she had x-rays which came back showing something white in her lungs, her heart didn’t look the best either.
I got up very early on that final day, which was unusual.
Mum and I had tea and vegemite on toast, and later that Day we shared a pastie.
She had been laying on the couch a lot, and feeling useless. I knew the feeling after months of chemo, so I didn’t mind her pottering around if she felt that she had the energy for it.
Then she sat down on the couch next to me and watched her afternoon tv shows, I was on the other couch talking to a friend on Secondlife via my laptop.
Mum said “I feel really good” and asked “Do I look good?”.
The afternoon sun shone through her hair, and she did look good, and I told her that she did.
Then we both settled down.
After a few minutes, she told me that she couldn’t breathe, I called the ambulance, but it was much too late.
She died in front of me, I had tried to keep her alive, mucking through what I recalled of CPR, but it seemed that her lungs were full of fluid, there was nothing I could do.
She passed away in my arms, she was so light, it was hard to believe that this was Mum, and dead.
I didn’t cry, what had happened to my was monumental, the person who’d always been there was gone, it was like a huge stone wall was inches from my eyes. I had no real emotion, just a weird frazzled, lost sensation.
I did freak out a little bit, I remember that much, I felt that, although I had tried to save her, that somehow I’d killed her in failing, I felt horrible. I remember telling my sister that “I felt evil” it was the strangest thing.
Once in a while, I did cry a little for her, but not like I thought I should have, perhaps we watch too many movies and think we should behave like the actors on the screen, and perhaps that’s not really true to life at all.
After Jan died, I felt an odd sort of buzzing in my body, and an odd sort of relief that she’d passed. but no sadness, not really… except that another family member had been claimed by cancer, and that I really should have seen her more often in my lifetime.
Months could fly by when I wouldn’t see her, and when I did, it was almost always rushed, Jans life, like her kids, was always scheduled, everything had to be pre-planned and booked in, they never seemed to have any time, it was like that song by Cat Stevens about the boy who told his Dad “we’ll have a good time then” and there never was any time.
It was partially due to my Brother in Law, who was jealous and possessive, I was thinking of this bloke last night, he hated anyone else having fun, he’d rant at me to go out and get some sun when I was a kid, knowing full well that I liked to be inside with my music… when I got a bike and found that I liked it, he took it and hid it, I thought it had been stolen. He made up some excuse that I shouldn’t have left it where I did because someone might have stolen it, and that was a lesson… but he only took it because he was an arsehole, yes, I got it back.
My Nephew had a small trike, which had been given to him by Mum one year, He loved it, he loved it more than the toys his Dad bought him… so that was hidden once.
He did the same to my Niece and Grand-Niece too, Mum had bought an NDS for April, which she enjoyed just a bit too much, so that was hidden.
He hated family, if anyone went to visit, there were snide remarks.
I relented on going to their place at christmas anymore, deciding that staying home with my dog would be much better, so I did.
The next year Mum and Dad decided I was right, so we began going to a Pub for Christmas Lunch instead, the atmosphere was a lot better.
He wanted my Sister all to himself, and what upsets me was that Jan complied with him. I felt disgusted, it was as though the 60’s sexual revolution never happened, She was a 50’s housewife, stuck in the 21st century.
He chased friends away when they got too close too, nobody visited.
Well Andy, you kept Jan away from everyone, Now someone’s taken her from you, Have a pint of your own medicine, mate.
My prediction for you is a long and lonely fate in a nursing home with nobody around you, it’s all you deserve.