“Make it easy on yourself
There's nothing more you can do
You're so full of what is right
You can't see what is true…”
—Rush, The Color of Right
Flame. Ash. Poof.
I wanted to be the one who was right. I obsessed over it. I went to therapy over it. I didn’t sleep because of it.
I just wanted to be right, which is where I went wrong. Not because I wanted to help my sister – that was as a noble gesture – but because I wanted to be right, to be acknowledged as the family champion saving the day. Instead, I was accused of destruction and then I chose to estrange myself from the family.
My sister and I, we lost six years, and it wasn’t until the Mama and I had children and our parents’ health deteriorated when we finally came together again and restored our relationship.
Then there we were – my wife, my sister and me – standing in silence around our mother's hospital bed. She lay swollen and silent, eyes closed, the only noise coming from the life support systems keeping her alive.
No more needing to be right. And so tired of being wrong. Just needing to be with one another, both our parents gone within four months of each other. Yes, heaven is being with those you love and to hell with everything else.
Nearly four years later and there she is. That can’t be her on the hospital bed. The swollen face and limbs. The endless tubes and pumps connected to her neck, arms and legs, feeding her antibiotics and fluids and oxygen. The pings, buzzes and alarms sounds from a myriad of machines displaying erratic vitals and undecipherable numbers.
It just can’t be her. No, my sister is at home working her butt off to keep the yard in shape. Running nearly every day to keep her body in shape. Working hard to earn a living on her own. Missing her two grown children, both far away from her, yet talking to them nearly every single day.
But there she is in the hospital bed. She’s laying there sedated, looking hauntingly like our mother, breathing on a respirator, her body in septic shock from a rapid infection. Right now it’s day by day, and we hope and pray that her strong will and her incremental improvements lead to a full recovery.
The part where I went wrong puts in all in perspective.
I love you, Sis. Happy Mother’s Day.