Funny how quickly we can fall back into the same patterns we had as children. How we relate to our siblings. I was surprised by this, and a few other things, last week while visiting my sister in the ER. It’s been tough to shake this weird feeling, so what else is there to do but write about it. Because that’s what I do, right?
We did not have the best childhood. Actually it pretty much sucked. My siblings and I have all struggled with different issues over the years, as we’ve tried to process and deal with what we were exposed to when we were younger. Somehow I got the “strong” label and I really thought I had worked through my stuff. Until last week.
My sister has been dealing with recent health concerns. With some minor complications from surgery and ongoing stress issues, she found herself in the emergency room. I stopped in to make sure she wasn’t in any immediate danger. When I pulled back the curtain she was doubled over, a plastic tray in her hand. The medicine they had given her had made her sick. Not a great sight. But in that instant, she became my baby sister again. The one that we called “flossie”. The tow headed, goofy, obnoxiously annoying little sister that drove me crazy with her love of animals and concern for my well-being and overwhelming, unconditional love of her family. Even when I didn’t think some of them deserved to be loved, she did. So irritating.
When she was finished, she laid back on the gurney, shivering almost uncontrollably. I covered her with blankets. She began crying, telling me about some of the recent nightmares she’s been having. Nightmares based in reality that I won’t go into here. I rubbed her forehead, prayed with her, and soothed her as best I could. She eventually fell asleep – I think the Dilaudid may have helped a wee bit with this.
On my drive home the anger hit me. What happened all those years ago is still directly impacting our lives. The decisions that people made, the hateful things that were done and said, did they even realize the devastation that that would bring, decades later? The impact of these things is now being felt in the next generation of our family. I am sad for what could have been, for the life we missed out on and for the pain that continues today.
So I’ve been talking with God a lot since that night, still trying to understand and release some things. Much has been dealt with and forgiven a long time ago. But when I saw my little sister on that hospital bed, when I saw the grief and pain she is still dealing with from that season, my heart broke. And I fiercely wanted to protect her. And I am so sorry that I couldn’t those many years ago.