I was reading some old posts I had written around this time last year and thinking about what a difference a year makes. A year ago, I was in Florida visiting my brother in law because he didn't sound good on the phone and seemed to be in pain. He had been fighting cancer and winning. Me, thinking I am the expert on pain control, decided I needed to fly down and as my husband makes fun of me for saying, "lay my eyes on him." He looked okay, was more handsome than I had seen him in the 35 years I had known him but he was in pain. We talked and hung out and we changed pain medication around and when I was leaving on that following Sunday, I was so glad that I had gone to see him.
Then, a week later, he fell apart. He took a turn for the worse and I found myself flying down on a Sunday to help my sister take him home. It was by far, one of the most difficult things I have done in my life. It was also, next my love for my family, the thing I am most proud of in my life to this day.
I was on the other side. I wasn't the hospice nurse that kept it together no matter what to support the family. I wasn't the focus of the gratitude of the family. I was Aunt Terry taking care of my brother in law who I met when I was 11 and knew that whole time. We had our disagreements, our times of anger and times when I wanted to punch him in the face...honestly...but he was one of those people in life that leave a large gap that cannot be filled easily, if at all.
If you want to catch up on last February and give you things to think about...start on the Feb 2012 posts and read what you can stand...made me cry and miss him even more.
Now, it's almost a full year later and I still wish he was here. I feel like I need to go back to Florida to be with my sister and to breath deeply and support my sister...but I also feel like I need to leave her alone. She's a strong one, my sister and she is grieving her way and I wouldn't expect anything less. The problem is, I am too, and I don't think I am half as strong as her.
I didn't like the month of February much...it was the month that I lost my mother and learned about losing someone that you love so much but have regrets. Now, on Valentines day last year, my brother in law left us...no regrets this time but pure sadness because I miss the sound of his voice. Think about how my sister and my nieces feel.
I get it...the sorrow and pain of losing a loved one...losing a love of your life, a child that you thought you could never live without, a mother who I find myself emulating, or a father who was the apple of my eye...It is like torture that you get very used to and then certain times, it starts all over again.
I can say that I think of all of them every day and each thought doesn't bring the "stab of the knife in the heart" back. But there are times when the sorrow is overwhelming...when my Howie was born and my mother was gone, or when my son and daughter graduated from high school and I wished my parents were there to see it and now, when I hear about Valentines day coming up and remembering how last year went, losing Uncle Pete.
I guess a life well lived is filled with love...people loving you and you loving them...
That love comes with pain, huh? But what is the alternative? Being a loner and not loving the people around you because they may die? I think we can count on dying...all of us. I don't know when or how or why...if its before our time or after our time...we just don't know. So, again, what is the alternative? To love...deeply, fully and hope for the best. To be there through the good, the bad and the ugly. Then, when they are gone, you miss them and the pain is unbearable but you have the comfort that you did everything you could to let them know you loved them....and no regrets.
So to my brother in law, Uncle Pete...we miss you so much. We miss your sassy attitude, your sense of humor, floating in the pool with you solving the worlds problems after a few drinks, pool volleyball, going out in the gulf in your boats, and your "famous meatloaf". Mostly though, we miss you and your sense of humor. I miss our talks on the phone and when we hung up...you would always say..."Carry on and be careful"
I'm sure you know but we're all trying....
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,