We Should Have Had More Time…..
Posted by ravenstpierre
For a number of reasons, I’ve been holding on to this particular post for quite some time. When I started blogging not too long ago, I didn’t want to only blog about writing or my books because there is sooooo much more to me than that. That part of my life is really secondary in the big scheme of things. I’m a real woman, with real problems, and I go through real situations just like everyone else, which is why I always strive to keep it one hundred ALL the time. However, I simply didn’t have it in me to make public this deeply personal memory that is still a very sensitive topic of conversation for me to this day. A close friend was the one who inspired me to be “completely open”, so I’m about to take her advice for a test drive…..here goes.
My last words to her were so meaningless that I can’t even recall what they were. It was late on a Tuesday and I was straightening up my house while balancing the phone on my shoulder as we talked. She wasn’t feeling well, but that wasn’t out of the norm, so I assumed she’d be back to herself in a few days. Upset stomach. Cold sweats. “Do you think it’s your ulcer acting up again?” I asked at some point, to which she answered, “That’s what I’m thinking, but…….I just don’t know.” In hindsight, I should’ve heard that something was different in her tone when she said that. It was like she knew something wasn’t right, but didn’t want to alarm me or didn’t want to admit it even to herself. We chatted a little while longer, even laughed a bit, and then her phone dropped the call mid-conversation. As I mentioned, I was busy with my domestics and thought it’d just be easier to call her back later when we were both settled. Thinking back, I struggle with so much guilt for not trying to get her back on the line then, but remember…..I thought we had more time.
While her evening SHOULD have ended with a kiss to each of her sons’ foreheads and a sleepy conversation beside her husband in bed, instead she spent this night in a cold, unfamiliar hospital, conscious for only a while before slipping into a coma that she’d never wake up from. Days passed. I remember standing by her bedside thinking – “Any minute now, you’re gonna wake up, and we’re gonna get to talk about how crazy this has all been.” I imagined the way the conversation would go and everything. To me, she had way too much fight in her for this to be the end. Trust me, we’d fought with each other enough for me to know that she doesn’t give up easily. Her hand was still warm when I held it, but machines were the only thing keeping her here with us. This wasn’t what she wanted.
A couple weeks before this sudden decline, there were two key conversations that took place between us that, again, should have let me know that she felt this coming. First, she showed me her life insurance papers and said that she was going to be changing her will, leaving her two most precious gifts (her sons) in my possession if something were to happen to her and her husband both. Second, she called one afternoon with sadness in her voice as she expressed a sudden fear of dying after reading a Facebook post in a lupus awareness group that she’d joined. A fellow member whom she conversed with often, passed away suddenly, leaving my sister all too aware of how fragile life can be. “I’m afraid that this will happen to me,” she said, choking back a tear or two.
As the chance of her waking up and coming back to us seemed to drift further and further away, all I could think about was what a tragedy it was that she’d brought two beautiful boys into the world and would never get to see them become men. Never get to see them become husbands, fathers, and would never get to hold her grandchildren. An absolute tragedy.
On a cold morning in February, surrounded by so much love and sadness, she slipped away quietly on her 33rd birthday. Losing my sister is one loss that I will NEVER get over. It took months to stop reaching for the phone when something funny, or sad, or random would cross my mind. I’d constantly have to relive the realization that she isn’t here anymore. In dreams, she’d come to me and we’d talk and laugh and hug, but waking up brought back the sting of her death morning after morning. I found solace in John Mayer’s “Dreaming with a Broken Heart”; I know he was talking about romantic love, but the words fit my state of mind so well.
Almost two years have passed and it still hurts like it did on day one. I should have called back. I should have listened for the deeper meaning in our last conversations. I just should’ve known. Somehow it all went over my head and I ended up saying my final “I love you” while she lie unconscious in a hospital bed. I guess what I’m trying to say is, make the most of the chances that you get to tell the ones closest to you how you feel while they’re still here. No matter how much time we THINK we should have to say and do what we need to, the bottom line is, our days here are numbered. So, because no one can predict the future or alter the past, the best time to say ‘I love you’…..is right now.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts.