For the past five years, this has been a difficult time of the year for me. It is a time I should be happy, but it is also the time of year my younger sister Pam died.
It has been five years, today. She died suddenly and naturally, blood-clots in the lungs. She was 30 years old and a newlywed.
The weekend after Thanksgiving, my sister, her husband and his mother were up at my parent's place in the north woods for some rest and relaxation. She was recovering from pneumonia, but was feeling pretty good. After dinner they went out to the bar and came home pretty early. For some reason -- probably because Pam was always a bit odd -- she decided to write her name in the sky with a sparkler leftover from the 4th of July.
Then, she went inside the house and died.
It was instant -- there was nothing the First Responders could do for her and even if she had been in the hospital at the time, there was very little chance she would have survived.
I miss her every day.
They don't have a word for someone who has lost a sibling, nor do they have a word for someone who has lost a child. I'm not sure it would help to have a word like 'widdow' or 'orphan' to describe my status. It would make things less complicated and perhaps make me feel as if there are others who have lost a sibling that they grew up with.
Pam and I didn't have a perfect relationship. Sometimes she made me crazy -- she could be very stubborn and was often flighty, forgetful and selfish. She was also a lot of fun, had a great laugh and could talk anybody thru anything difficult of sad.
Pam's most recent career plan -- can you tell there had been many?? -- was to become a grief counselor. Her idea was to create a practice in which she would provide grief counseling. The kind of cool thing about her business idea was that the practice would also have people who could handle the more practical things like doing the paperwork after death, cleaning out the deceased closets, taking their pets to a no-kill shelter, selling their car or getting their house ready to sell. She would also have close contacts with attourneys who deal with probate and the other legal matters. In effect, you could call Pam when someone died and her network would take care of the rest.
Of course -- the terrible part of all of this is that she then went and died herself.... before setting up a service we needed badly. She always did have terrible follow-thru....
So, today -- on one of those holidays many people dread -- if you are with your siblings, have some fun with them. You don't have to like them as people... they may make you crazy or angry... but, they are the people who have known you the longest and they are most likely the ones who will be with you when you are old. Take the good parts of the relationship and look past their crappy qualities.