this is something that i have found to be a common phrase heard by sibling grievers. ‘get over it’ or ‘you should be over it by now’. let me just say this straight off the bat: we will never ‘get’ or ‘be’ over it. you would never say that to a grieving parent or a grieving spouse, would you? so why do sibling grievers hear this one? Continue reading
Author: valentinacuden (Page 1 of 2)
i wake up on a couch in an apartment that isn’t mine. it’s bright, the sun is glaring through the naked windows. great. a beautiful fucking day. maybe someone is getting married. do people get married on tuesdays? the thought is neither here nor there. i dismiss it and replace it with the thought i don’t want to have. today is Barbara’s funeral and i better get up.
i black out.
‘you need to come here now. Barbara’s not doing well.’
this was a message from my brother on august 10, 2018. i read it as soon as i got up while i was on vacation. Barbara was dying and i went on vacation. it’s silly now, i know, but back then, it made sense. my mom said i should go. she said there was nothing i could do there so i might as well go and try and enjoy myself. yeah right. enjoy myself while my sister was living out her last days. i spent most of that time crying, shaking, not sleeping. i went to the emergency room four days in a row because of an acute case of hives.
i was on a plane 15 hours after i read my brother’s message.
so why did i go on vacation even though i knew that Barbara had up to 3 months to live?
that’s simple. because i was in denial.
today, Barbara would have been 38 years old. it’s a strange fact to fathom. it always has been. i was more suprised when she turned 30 than when i turned 30. when amadej turned 40? yikes. when i turned 40? meh.
i read somewhere that we actually remember the memory of the event rather than the event itself. that way it seems plausible that the memory itself would change its shape and content, much like the initial word in a game of telephone would be morphed into something completely different by the time the last person heard it. so, memories can’t really be relied upon, is what i gather from this concept. whether there is some scientific truth to that, i can’t know. i’m only a musician.
of course, i knew that grief would find me. i just didn’t realise the impact it would have on my life. neither could i fully understand the scope of it, its sheer size and its many poisonous tentacles. i wish i could give it a name, it would make it easier to address. it’s worth more than an ‘it’. but alas, ‘it’ it shall be.
when i returned home and started seeing people again, roughly a week after Barbara’s death there was an awkward presence that i hadn’t noticed before. like an empty shadow that followed me wherever i went. i couldn’t put my finger on it because i could only just manage to think.
funerals i had been to but i had only been to one wake before Barbara’s. i was in my third year of university so that makes me twenty one years old.
Barbara died at 2:11 am on friday morning. it was kind of like a movie scene. she was surrounded by her immediate family and her husband and although we were all devastated, there was a serenity in the room that i don’t ever remember feeling at any time before this moment. it was beautiful in the most cruel way.
i guess i should start at the end. the end of my sister’s life.
Barbara had been battling cancer for six years. she suffered, no, that’s not the right word, because she didn’t suffer, she chose to enjoy the last years of her life. she was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma III.
here’s how she found out.