Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Caretaker

Phew. The FedEx piece was exciting. I do love doing that work, shareholder resolution stuff. I believe corporations will always be way ahead of government policies- and we need them to be in order to get government to respond.

It makes a very real difference in people's lives. I especially like that part.

But for my regulars, not the additional couple thousand that stopped by to read about FedEx- thanks to all of you my sitemeter is fun to look at now- I wanted to give an update on the day in a life of a caretaker.

I realize that's what I am now. Sure, I'm a mom and moms take care of children, but this is different. I'm taking care of someone with cancer.

Yup, I finally said it. Finally got approval to say it. We've been dealing with this big, bad word for a while now. It's not so scary anymore.

I always knew, for a long time, that I would be the one to take care of my sister. I was the only one in the family who appreciated her for who she is and didn't judge her.

That glass house thing... I'm very aware of it.

My sister was one of the first people I told I was a lesbian. She didn't understand, and didn't really like the idea, but I was her sister and she loved me. No matter what. I think I was about 16 when I told her. I didn't come out to my mother until I was 20 and even then it wasn't my choice. She asked, I paused, and the rest is history.

When my sister met a man online and decided to go across country with him, I took a deep breath and said OK. I was scared for her, no question. But I also knew she needed some tie to a safe place. I would always be that safe place.

She keeps telling me that I saved her life. I didn't save her life. I provided a safe place. I will say there were some really sweet people in Georgia, ones that cared about her. But the world she had built was based on a man, not on her own sense of self.

It wasn't safe. He wasn't safe.

It is a strange world I'm in now. Slow motion at times, at times a roller coaster. I do the laundry, cook meals and we talk a lot. The boys are with Jeanine on their way out to visit their fabulous cousins in Iowa. For now, it's just my seester and I.

Walter asked me if we've gotten closer or if it's been stressful. I would have to say both- and neither. My sister and I have always been close even when we didn't talk every day. We've always had a connection.

It's stressful because she's sick. I don't want her to be sick. I want her to jump up and make her fabulous taco salad for dinner. I don't want to talk about who to leave what in the will, but I am.

It's important. I'm not afraid of these conversations. They carry a lot of weight of responsibility for me, to make sure who gets what. I will honor whatever she wants.

It's not stressful because the sun is out, the breeze is keeping the bugs away and the only thing we have to do is eat dinner and chat.

Stay in the moment, I keep reminding myself.

We don't always agree about everything but we are respectful of each other in how we voice it. That has always been the case. I hold things at times, consider them, not because I am afraid of the confrontation but because I want to use my best words with her.

I am a caretaker now. I'd like to think of it as a being full of gentle love. Respect. I know I will not always be successful, I will lose my patience, I will become angry at all that feels so unfair.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Because I love my sister. Always have. Always will.

6 Comments:

Anonymous donald said...

i'm sure you both will get through this, thankfully you have each other. i know cathy is relieved to be with you and knowing you are there to listen and help her out. she is lucky to have you!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

you are both lucky to have each other. thinking about you both sending good vibes your way. hugs for both of you.....

10:47 PM  
Blogger Sue J said...

the only thing we have to do is eat dinner and chat

You've done a wonderful thing to get your sister out of that situation and into such a good place.

(and sitemeter rocks!)

11:28 AM  
Blogger Rev. Bob said...

You're doing Gods work, which is a funny thing for an atheist to say, but you're on a good path, a path that fits with life. Much love to you and your seester and to the rest of your family.

7:38 AM  
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