Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shopping For Clothes Isn't Always A Happy Occasion

Sometimes buying new clothes isn't any fun. I had to buy some male dress clothing yesterday, for an upcoming occasion. I don't often wear men's dress clothes, and I've lost so much weight since I last needed to wear them, what I have in my closet no longer fits. But I'm not sad because I had to buy men's clothing. I'm sad because of the reason I'm going to have to wear them.

Some of you know that I go to my mother's on Monday evenings, for supper with my family. That usually means Mom, my older sister (the one I recently came out too), my twin sister, her husband, occasionally one or both of my two nieces, and the occasional odd guest one of the regulars might invite. For the last few weeks, instead of gathering at my mother's, we've been going to my twin sister and brother-in-law's house.

For the last five years, my twin has been battling metastatic lung cancer that had spread to her brain, and it was taking it's toll on her mobility. With a combination of chemo therapy and gamma radiation, she had done so well for so long, but this last year she finally had to have brain surgery, to remove a mass that the gamma radiation could not handle. Physically, she recovered well from the surgery, but we soon began to notice a marked decrease in her cognitive abilities. Her mobility began to deteriorate too. She eventually got to the point where she had to use a walker all of the time, and it would literally take her five minutes to get from my mother's front door, to the dining room table. About five weeks ago, it got to where it was just too difficult for her to get ready and come to mom's place, so we moved our weekly supper to her house. Each week I noticed more deterioration. She couldn't even get from her walker into a chair without help, and she was becoming increasingly incoherent. She would try to participate in our conversations, but after a few words, she would lose her train of thought, pause and then finish with something totally random and unrelated to the conversation. Each week it got worse. This week, rather than coming to the table in the kitchen, she stayed in her hospital bed, that
had been placed in the dining room, so she wouldn't have to climb the stairs to her bedroom. She has been receiving hospice care, and this week they gave my brother-in-law a handbook, on how to deal with someone in their last days, and what to expect. He said he will be surprised if she makes it to Christmas, and that she may only have three or four weeks left.

Before I left, I went into her room and sat with her for awhile. She doesn't seem to be suffering. In fact she appeared happy I was there, but she talked gibberish to me. I just smiled and did my best to keep from bursting into tears. After a while, I told her I had to go, and reached down to caress her face, and give her a kiss. When I pulled away, she reached up to me smiling, and I caressed and kissed her again. It was everything I could do to contain myself. I kissed my mom, and on the way out I hugged my older sister. It was only when I was safely in my car and driving away, that I allowed the tears to flow.

So, when I got home, I went on line, and started looking for clothes to wear to my sister's funeral. It was without a doubt the most unhappy shopping I have ever done.



Two Auntees said...

I am so sorry you and your family. It is hard to watch a loved who is ill and dying. You are in our thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your sister's decline. At least you had the opportunity to let your love flow to her one last time. So often we are not able to do that and it can really make the hurt worse. Hang in there Melissa...this too shall pass. Hugs, Suzi

Amy K. said...

I'm so sorry, hun. I can only imagine the pain you must be going through. I wish there was something I could say or do to make you feel better. Sadly, there isn't. Please know that I wish you and your family the best.

Two Auntees said...

You and your sister are in my thoughts as well.
Sarah The other auntee

Naukishtae said...

Oh my Dear Friend.. I knew when I read the first line of your post where you were leading us.. a dear sister, and a twin.. oh honey my heart aches for you.. as the others have said, there is not much that can be said at a time like this.. except see her as often as you can.. hold her if you can.. I will hold you, and your dear sister up before the Goddess.. that She bring some comfort to you.. as you see, all of us here hold you and your sister close during this journey.. be Blessed sweet one, you are in my heart......... Naukishtae

Leslie Ann said...

I'm so very sorry, Melissa. Losing a sibling must be incredibly difficult. My wife lost a sister last year and it still overwhelms her from time to time.

You and your family are in my thoughts.

Stephanie said...

I never know what to say when I hear news like this. Words are just not enough. I'll pray you and your family receives the strength needed to see this through.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear this terrible news.
You are in my prayers.

Melissa said...

To all:

Thank you everyone, for your kind thoughts and words. I knew it would eventually come to this, when my sister first told of her cancer over five years ago. Frankly I thought it would come a lot sooner. We've been so fortunate to have her these last five years. Those five years have given us time to prepare ourselves mentally for the inevitable, but when it comes down to it, it's never easy.

Thanks again, everybody!
Melissa XXOO

Calie said...

Melissa, I am so sorry for you and your family...and your twin sister. Such a sweet thing you did for her. Brought a tear to my eyes. This really says a lot about you, sweetie.

Calie xxx

chrissie said...


I took a while to answer this... It berought back a bit of the pain we've lived under for the last few months.

You know that we've just lost someone dear to us from this very cause.

It is hard... More so if it's a sibling.

At times like this, words seem useless, inadequate things.

But I am keeping you and yours in my thoughts, cariad...


Melissa said...

@ Calie and Chrissie,

Thanks so much to both of you for you kind sentiments, and yes Chrissie, it's hard to go through this with anyone you love. Because I lost my father to this scourge nine years ago, and what we are experiencing with my sister now, I was keenly aware of the pain you were experiencing, over the passing of your mother-in-law. Fortunately, as time passes, the pain fades away, and we are left mostly with fond memories.

Melissa XXOO