Saturday, August 04, 2007

Diane's Dead

An old friend of my sister's called the other day and said she was checking up on her. My sister had died on March 7 of this year, months ago, so you can imagine how startled I was to find that there was still a friend of my sister who had not heard that news. They were good buddies when they were teenagers and in their twenties, but had drifted apart for the most part, as you can see. Not to accuse her of being careless or anything else, though--after all, I hadn't known of her mother's passing for some similar period of time, though I didn't bring that fact up during our phone conversation! People drift away, geographically and otherwise.

Nonetheless, I couldn't help feeling a bit stunned and tongue-tied to have to tell that news again so far away from the actual event. She died. She's dead. Everyone feels some bit of loss and others more. But it is weird to have to tell it. It makes it more difficult for me to push it away, to keep it at a safe distance.

Not too often, but once in a while, I hear about something and think I'll have to tell my sister about that, but then 5 seconds later I remember: Diane's dead. There is nothing to tell. And then I don't like to think about it, whatever it was I thought she'd like to know...

She threatened for decades to die young because of her diabetes and other problems, and finally she did die at 65, an age that only children think of as Old these days. But I guess she's more comfortable now, relieved of diabetes and dialysis (which she hated), and the foot they cut off, and her heart problems, etc. When she died, some people wanted to be completely sad, but I could remember too many times when she said she wished she could just die. She said that often, usually when I was driving her to the dialysis treatments 2 or 3 times a week. I sometimes thought she said it to me because I may have been one of the only people who didn't tell her not to think like that. I accepted it, though I tried not to agree with it. She stopped saying it finally, though clearly she didn't feel any better. There is probably no way to unravel the ups and downs of those conversations now. It was part of her, but it's over. I wondered a few times if I'd help her die if she kept talking that way and if she asked me, but I think she decided she was afraid to make God mad, and that saved me from having to face that demon.

Not that I believe in God, but that I believe in that demon.


  1. It's hard to have to re-live the telling, and it's cliche to say that healing comes with time, because your sister is never far from your thoughts.

    I just pray that God gives you peace. I'm sure Diane is asking him to do that for you!

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. That damned diabetes took my grandfather, and is taking my dad as we speak, ever so slowly. It is a demon.

  3. Zen, that might be the best icon I've yet encountered!

  4. It's painful, isn't it? I've experienced this kind of thing and it feels like the scab has ben torn from on old sore place.

    Also, that feeling you describe of having to tell someone something - someone who has been gone for some time - that is strange too. I have a recurring dream that I should call my Mum (died 1997) and let her know where I am now. I always wake up in a panic.

    Comforting hugs coming at ya, Ron. :-)

  5. That would be a strong inclination for a "good child", I guess. I never had that sensation when my father passed, possibly because my mother's still alive, so there's not much forgetting he's gone.

  6. When my grandpa died suddenly at age 54, my grandma kept getting sympathy cards and letters for months afterwards. The news traveled slowly among friends from all over the country who knew him from pigeon shows. It really pissed her off.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

  7. I thought you were going to say that it pissed You off! Instead, it pissed off Grandma! Good for her. Your grandpa died too young, I feel, since I am already older than he when he died.

  8. Powerful post. That is difficult. It's amazing how a word from a person or a familiar fragrance or sight can bring something back to the present and cart along all the emotion with it. Your sister must have appreciated having a loving and sympathetic brother in her life.


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