First of all, I want to thank all my friends that were supportive, whether in comments here or on Twitter, it’s amazing how many people are struggling thru the same feelings. Just knowing you aren’t alone, in itself, is a big relief.
My mom called last nite & mentioned 2 of my cousins called her cuz they left me messages, but haven’t heard back. They want to get together Dec. 26 & I wasn’t sure if I could handle it as the anxiety hits without warning. Then I started thinking about my cousins & my mom, and the tears started falling. I told her about my anxiety & how late at night I worry about losing her or other loved ones. My mom has lived thru what I’m afraid to, yet she’s not only survived, she’s grown stronger. And she told me I’m tough, she’s right, I am… I just don’t want to have to be tough.
As I’ve shared before. I consider Nov./Dec. to be “the dying season.” Most of our family that has died, has died in these 2 months. Between my mom, myself, my cousin Lucy & other cousin, Lisa, I’ve suffered the least. Lisa is the daughter of my cousin, Lola, who was Lucy’s sister-both my cousins, my mom’s sister’s daughters. I know I’ve written many times about Lola, although there were 15 years between us, she was my closest cousin-we were 2 peas in a pod in the way we thought. Our sisters, Lucy & my sis think alike, but much differently than Lola & I.
Lola died on Dec. 27, 2007. Her mom, my mom’s sister, died on Dec. 3, 2005. Both of my uncles- my mom’s brothers, also died in December- one on the 24th. My Grandma died on Jan. 1, 1954 (4 years before I was born) of brain cancer. How my mom manages during the holidays is baffling, she doesn’t bring up all the deaths, none of us really do…but she’s basically lost her mom & all siblings during the holidays. My dad died on Nov. 8, 1993, and Lucy’s husband died on Nov. 9, 2010. Recently, my sister-in-law’s sister died on Nov. 21 of leukemia, she was my age- 54.
Lucy only has 1 brother left (not counting her own children, etc.) and Lisa lost her mom & Grandma within a few years of each other. I helped take care of my Auntie when she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, until the day she passed away. With Lola, I didn’t, and that is something I will always regret. Granted, my mom had contracted MRSA & I was busy taking care of her, but not being there for Lola is something that weighs so heavy on my heart. Part of me thinks that’s how she wanted it~ she’d always watched out for me…we shared similar life experiences, being the youngest in our families, we even shared the same Godfather. What I think about how she felt is irrelevant; she was surrounded by loved ones & very well cared for until she passed.
I’m so hung up about her though. I never told her good-bye, even though I’ve talked to her a multitude of times, since her passing- there was no closure. I let her down, I let Lisa & Lucy down – I let myself down. So many times I could have sat by her side & just talked, listened, or said nothing at all…just held her hand, but I didn’t. And I miss her so dearly, so tremendously – she fought cancer with all her might, she didn’t want to go, and I didn’t want her to go. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure I was in denial of her dying, while the rest were dealing with her on a daily basis, I was busy in denial because she’d told me she would be fine & I hung on to those words.
We’re lucky to find friends that we feel we’ve known all our life. Lola? I actually knew her all of my life & we “got” each other. She was that 1 of a kind person except I was fortunate enough that she was also a relative & she knew absolutely everything about me, and still loved me. And it’s on that note, I’ve decided to call both of my cousins & let them know I’d love to get together with them on the 26th. Yes, it may be emotional for me, but if they can do it when they’ve lost SO many, I certainly can. This is a time of year when family, especially this part of my family, should be seeing each other & sharing our love for each other.
I may have anxiety; I may not. But one thing I know that I certainly don’t want to have is regrets like those regarding Lola. And the very least I can do is spend time with her sister & her daughter; I know she’d be smiling down on us.