Monday, July 22, 2013

Let's be honest, I'm not Okay

I've been getting that question a lot: Are you okay? How are you feeling? Or some other variation. I understand the mentality behind it. And I myself am guilty of asking questions like that after someone has gone through a tragedy of some kind. I know what people want to hear when they ask it, and I try to give them that answer.

Last night, after helping to go through my sisters things, to help her husband clear out their motel room, I was asked that question. I tried to give the stock answer and it came out on a sob. That's because it was a lie. I'm not okay.

I just lost my baby sister. It wasn't something I saw coming. It wasn't something I was even remotely prepared for. I'd worried for her, sure. I couldn't help that. But I didn't expect to wake up in the morning and find two missed calls from her husband that came at 2 am, and have things spiral from there.

We were going to take the kids to Seven Peaks, to finally use those passes we bought months ago for the first time. We got up early and was I was giving instructions to my kids when I noticed that the phone by my teenager's bed said it had voicemail. I thought that was strange, since I knew I had checked it before going to bed. I was surprised to see the time stamps on the Caller ID. Who would call at that time?

The message was from my sister's husband saying it was important to call him back as soon as possible. Twenty minutes later he'd left another message saying the same thing. That was odd and unlike him. I wondered if my sister was in the hospital. She'd been having terrible pain, especially in her back, and had just been diagnosed with a degenerative condition. I tried to call him back, but got no answer. So I tried her number, no response. I sent her a facebook message. Nothing. I called my mother, also no answer. So I called my Grandma. She said she'd also missed two calls just after 3 am.

It left me feeling unsettled, and I tried again to call her husband, but still got no answer. After talking about it with my husband, we decided to continue with our plans, but to keep trying to reach someone to find out what was going on. So we made breakfast, joked with the kids during meal time, cleaned up and then started to get everyone dressed. Between this time, I continued to try to reach someone to find out why we got those 2 am calls.

We were nearly ready to go, when one of my daughters brought me the phone and said I'd missed a call from my sister's husband. So I finished pulling my hair back and dialed his number. I don't even remember what his first words were. All I remember is that somewhere in there were the words, "Mel passed away last night."

I doubled over. No way!!!! I'd heard wrong. What?! No! No! No! No! And since that moment, I have not been okay. I keep seeing flashes of her. Remembering the good times. Agonizing over the bad ones. Thinking of how wrong this is--how unfair.

And then I still have to function. I have a husband and six children. My children need me. There are things that they need done for them. Band stuff for my son. Soccer stuff for one of my daughters. Appointments. Paperwork. Registration stuff....But I'm barely able to form a thought that doesn't have to do with my sister and what I have to do to prepare for her funeral--how to get through this day, the next day, this week....

Much needs to be done. Of my family, I'm the one most capable of doing this. Melanie's husband has the full support of his family and they're very willing to do everything--but this was MY sister. I can't let them take all the responsibility. She was MY sister--my only sister. I have to be there for her. I have to.

On top of this, I worry. What will this do to my grandma, who is already in very poor health? But most of all, what will this do to my mom? To lose her child--her baby. As it is, my mother's life is difficult, to say the least. But this...This is beyond difficult. There are no words strong enough to describe it. Right now though, she's handling it. She's surrounding herself with my sister's things, and trying to be strong for me, as I am for her.

So, to sum it up: No, I'm not okay right now. But I have my family with me, some very good friends and I have my Heavenly Father, and with them I will get through this and one day I will be okay again. I'm not sure how long it will take, or what steps will get me there, but second by second, I'll get there.