I just spent the last two nights busting my whatevers keeping someone alive whose death is imminent. Yes, there is some satisfaction in knowing that my efforts kept him from dying on my shift, but mostly I just feel spent, and for no good reason. It's one of the frustrations, you've heard it before, yada fast forward through the drudgery till I get to the tired sign off.
Except sometimes, when I'm really tired, I post some real tight stuff. My inhibitions are broken down, my attitude is a little sharper around the edges, I'm just flat out pissy even, sometimes. It's almost like I want someone to come give me some crap, to hurt me and anger me and and kick me when I'm down, give me a reason for feeling this bad. But after a while here, I'll go sleep it off like a drunkard winding down off a bad week. When I wake up, I'll just be Bruce/dad/husband again.
This is such a post.
Recently my sister e-mailed me, out of the blue, with a fairly trivial question about someone we used to know a long time ago. Understand, I haven't heard from her in months. We are... estranged, for lack of a better or more accurate term. I'll leave this post hanging here because I doubt she'll ever see it. Her LJ is all but dead and I doubt seriously if she comes to read mine anymore. I do have her to thank for getting me started here, and I'm so glad she did. Truth be told, I leave this here also out of honesty, because she should probably know these things as well. I'm also sometimes blunt like that, but you know this already.
So, she writes. I'll be the first to tell you that she has said a lot of really positive, complimentary things about me in her journal over the years. I know because I recently went back and re-read them. I would point you there, but her entries are nearly all friends only and you couldn't see them anyway. Long story short, this is really about the death knell of a relationship and when and where it occurred.
When she decided that she was a lesbian after meeting a woman on the Internet, and decided to leave North Carolina, all of her family, and the only life she'd ever known to go live with her, I was supportive. At first, anyway. Until she started rushing things, and refusing to plan well, and refusing to listen to anyone else, and refusing to take advice, and abandoning all reason. So, I told her that I thought she was making some mistakes, to slow down and think things through, to be sure this was all as good of an idea as her heart was telling her. (All along she was telling me that she was listening to her heart, and I was telling her not to listen only to her heart, but also to use her head.)
Suddenly, I was no longer the supportive, wonderful big brother, but some sort of traitor, or betrayer for having spoken the truth in love. I swear to you now that I've never been subjected to the irrationality and... accusatory hostility? that I got during that time. We've had very few words since. The woman? Not with her anymore. My sister's been almost totally out of her family's life for YEARS now, and none of us could do anything about it. Know what? It's too late, for me. My oldest son has grown to nearly my own height and his voice has changed. She missed it all. My youngest son is not too far from being as old as my oldest was when she left. She'd barely recognize him, he's changed so much. She left us all. It was as traumatic as a death.
So yeah, I have had a hard time dealing with it. I've put it out of my mind, and sat on it, and ignored it, and chewed on it, and fumed over it, and fought it out in my own head, and yelled and cried and reminisced and memorialized and gritted my teeth and hurt and waited. I've done everything I needed to do except get past it, and I realize I may never be able to do that. I can't forget I have a sister. But I can't include her in my life either. It isn't like she died, it's like limbo. It's the waiting room just outside hell, at the end of the hall where family members wait a multitude of eternities for me or some other nurse to come give them just a few encouraging words. "...send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." * But we all know there's no ice water in hell.
Finally, despite all of the "good" things she said, I'll tell you where I keep getting stuck whenever I think about her, or when my mom talks about talking with her. I keep going back to the moment I read a post in her journal which is still there and is now tagged with my nickname, Bubby, which she's called me nearly all of her life. This is no less than the cleaving of our paths, I realize. This is the stake in my heart that keeps me from returning to the place I cherished sharing with her before. It's, of course, friends only, but I reproduce it here, for my own sake, if not for your clarity:
Phrases from a Song
...my indecision to call you
and hear your voice of treason...
...Don't waste your time on me
you're already the voice inside my head...