Prayers & Tears

justlikeI contemplated being silent today because I’m not in a good mood, but I’m also too upset to pretend.

I’ve had less than five hours of sleep. I tried going back to bed an hour ago, but I am unable to focus on genuine rest. That usually means doing what I always do when there are thoughts running through my head; write.

My brother is sick. By “sick”, I do not mean he has a cold or the flu, I mean that he is going into the hospital tonight. Why wait? Because he “doesn’t want to ruin my day”. It’s not meant to make me feel guilty, he’s just utilizing God given guilt.

When I tried encouraging him to “just go” (He totally inherited the stubbornness from my Mom.), he refused, saying he could go tonight “after I celebrate”. I even offered to go with him, which he doesn’t want, not unless major surgery is being performed. He’s not trying to be dramatic, he just is. 😦 He’s also conscious of the fact that nearly every birthday I have sucks in some way, and that he’s usually the cause if I, myself, am not stuck in bed sick as a dog (in the traditional way).

Last night, he informed me of all his final plans. Plans I am meant to carry out, some of which include organ donation. I’ve had to hear people’s “final wishes” more times than I care to count, so last night was too much. My eyes are swollen from crying and my stomach hurts wondering if this is it, if some horrible health issue is going to rob me of the only remaining sibling I have left. Very real possibilities. When he got a clean bill of health three years ago, I was surprised, and relieved, but a lot has changed since then and I am sick with worry.

You know that one stubborn family member who would rather risk his/her own hearing than go to the emergency room for a horrible ear infection?! That’s my brother. Not once, not twice, but three times. The first time he did it, he did lose significant hearing in his left ear because he waited an extra day before going to the ER. The last ear infection was so bad that he now accuses me of raising my voice when I speak at a normal tone. I can whisper, he’ll say I yelled.

Today is not about me. Today is about praying for my brother and what he is going through. It is me praying that he did not have a heart attack and isn’t in congestive heart failure, and that nothing more is going on, though I suspect there is based on what he is saying hurts. Both of my Grandfathers died from heart attacks, but one died at 40, leaving behind a wife, a fifteen year old, and a five year old. My brother started taking aspirin several years ago to “prevent” that from happening to him, but he made no other changes that could have been beneficial. That’s why I’m scared for him, and that’s why I’m sick to death over this.

I will half-heartedly do some important things that need to be done this morning into the early afternoon hours, but after that, I am forcing his ass to the hospital, even if I have to drag him there by his balls. He usually hallucinates when they medicate him, so that would mean being told rather loudly that I am “trying to pull out his IV” or “embarrassing him” when all I’m doing is sitting quietly, or pacing the hall outside a room. I will spend the evening waiting to hear what his prognosis is.

No matter what you believe in, I ask that you say a little prayer today. No one deserves to lose a loved one and no one as young as my brother deserves to go through this.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Friday Feelings

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What profound, intelligent things can I say today? I won’t give myself that much credit as my thoughts are scattered at the moment, but hey, it has been known to happen. 😉

On occasion, I wish people wouldn’t give me such rich material and expect me not to write about it (That’s okay, the status quo is in tact.). Generally, those who do such things have no idea it’s being written about because they take no real interest in me as a person, but at this point, you’re opening yourself up to be cannon fodder. I make a point of protecting the guilty by never naming names. 😛

Most writers will write and speak from personal experience, even in works of fiction, because daily life is ridiculous and downright comedic at times. I often look around for hidden cameras to make sure I’m not part of some bizarre reality show. Half the time I feel the need to double-check to make sure Ashton Kutcher isn’t going to pop out from behind something to tell me I’ve just been Punk’d. They really need to bring that show back…

I got a surprise phone call yesterday afternoon from the store where I purchased my mattress, the one that somehow managed to have a spring crack and pop through the pillow-top, thus causing a hole that hadn’t been there two weeks prior when I first discovered it. This has been going on since August. When the “mattress inspector” came out early Tuesday morning, and by early, I mean he was here at 8:45 and after a few photos and my signature, wished me good luck with my move, I figured that even with visible proof, I’d be forced to replace it sometime next year. I cannot begin to explain how painful it is, but the inspector was nice. He said they’d take care of me “Even if you are a Yankees fan.” LOL. During the inspection he pointed out that the entire area where the spring popped is caving in slightly. That explains why I have often felt like the mattress was uneven (Total blonde moment. I can say for a fact that I was blonde when I started thinking there was something wrong with this thing.).

The lady from their service department sounded really nice when I answered the phone, but I thought she was lulling me into a false sense of security. When she informed me that the inspector’s report was that the mattress is damaged (“He said your mattress is stain-free and in perfect condition despite the damage, which is clearly not your fault.”), I was thrilled. I paid very little for a higher-end mattress because I purchased it during a big President’s Day sale along with most of my other bedroom furniture. She said I could come into the store anytime as there is now a massive credit on my account, all I have to do is pick out something new and by the way, they’re having a 50% off sale for Columbus Day. My jaw dropped. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am. So, later today (tomorrow if I still feel like crap) I am taking Case Study #2 with me so that I can get a second opinion on mattress comfort. I openly admit I only sat on this one before I chose it, and because my Fibromyalgia has progressively worsened since then, I felt it was important to do some research on the best mattresses for chronic pain sufferers.

I’ve always wanted to upgrade to a Sleep Number bed, but I’ve read mixed reviews from pain sufferers. Memory foam has always felt painful to me, but there is now a new type of memory foam with some kind of gel in the core, so I went on their web-site and found three or four different mattresses to test. No matter how I cut it, I’m still making out like a bandit because they issued me the full price despite the fact that I bought this one on sale. I’m going to look at this as a gift and a blessing because being in pain while I sleep is agonizing. Whoever is looking out for me from up Above, THANK YOU. This means replacing my pillows after the move because I always have a difficult time finding good ones that remain good. Maybe this time I won’t need so many and can downgrade to six.

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However, in my joy, I found out there are also plenty of painful, unshed tears inside me. I don’t want to move and leave what little I have built here behind. I’ve enjoyed living here, for the most part. I’ve enjoyed the area and all that has become familiar to me, but in order for progress to occur, I have to improve upon instead of remaining stagnant. I have to focus on my health and make some big changes before I can consider anything else.

What pains me most about this is that I am leaving behind my closest family member, which is making me worry beyond words. I have looked out for him since before he was born. I take the responsibility of being a sister very seriously. We spend an extraordinary amount of time together for siblings (He gets mistaken for my father or boyfriend constantly because apart from a few features, we don’t look alike.), and I know I will be sick with worry every single day that I will get a phone call with news that I will feel responsible for.

I have taken care of my brother since the day he came home from the hospital. I took care of him even more after we lost our parents. Leaving him behind now makes me feel like the worst person on the planet. No matter how many times he & I have discussed other options, we were railroaded, so now I’m left with no other option. I will be 2-5 hours away in an emergency, depending on my method of transportation, and I am worried because he’s never truly been on his own before. He has always had me to rely on to bail him out of trouble and to look out for him. I always say “Call or text me so I know you got there safely.” and “Call me when you get back, so I know you’re safe.” He constantly makes me worry. We can go for days without speaking and our relationship is not perfect, but he is still my brother and I’d hate myself if anything ever happened and I wasn’t there for him.

Does he feel the same? I honestly don’t know what he feels. He isn’t the most communicative human-being when it pertains to emotions. I’ve only seen him cry three times in the last decade, and that number might be too high if I think about it.

Since informing him of my decision, he has been angry and volatile. He has accused me of abandoning him and said we won’t have a relationship at all once I move, that he’ll be “cutting me off” emotionally. I’ve repeatedly said “We can talk every day, we can text, we can e-mail like we always do, and we can Skype. I’ll be back in a flash if you truly need me and you can always come and visit.” He’s said he won’t visit, which might just be how he feels now, but I truly don’t know. I do, however, feel that he has some major growing up to do and since I was recently accused of “holding him back” simply because I provided unsolicited advice, I feel like it’s time to let him learn the way he’s always chosen to learn; the hard way. It makes me sick to my stomach, I’m terrified over what he might get himself into, but I also know in my heart that I have done everything I possibly can for him and he’s chosen not to change or grow. You can no longer help someone who doesn’t give a shit about the things in life that are truly important.

Cat will miss him terribly. She worships the ground he walks on. Since the first night I brought her home, she has adored him. He was the first person to hold her, the first person she purred for, the first person she chirped at, and the first person she ever gave kisses to. If I thought he could truly care for her the way I do, I’d let them be together, but I know he can barely take care of himself and that the responsibility of a cat is not in his wheelhouse at the moment. I know she will search for him and miss him, but I also know she will never forget him. And I do hope he’ll change his mind and visit a few times a year, because it’s not a huge trip to make when you only have a bag of clothes and your laptop with you. I am hoping that time will show him that I’m not abandoning him, that I’m giving him room to spread his wings. No matter where either of us are, we will always remain siblings. That’s an unbreakable bond, though I realize for many, that the bond does break.

The day he was born my exact words were “I didn’t ask for a little brother. Can we send him back? I specifically said I wanted a baby sister.” I was lovingly informed that I don’t get to choose that sort of thing. God has given me sisters in the form of my closest friends, and for that I am truly grateful, but when it comes to my brother I suspect I’ll always have mixed emotions. Even when we’ve gone years without seeing each other, we have still spoken regularly and communicated better than when we’ve lived in the same home or city/town. Perhaps this is precisely how he learns to be a better brother.

He has, often quite begrudgingly, been there for me these past few years as my Fibromyalgia has worsened and my migraines became more difficult to manage. He has taken out my trash and recycling, picked up medication, brought me emergency supplies when I’ve been sick or in too much pain to get out of bed, done library and post office runs, and been my partner-in-crime nine times out of ten. He has helped me when I’ve needed help, cared for my familiar when I’d go on vacation, dropped me off at the airport and picked me up, even when the timing inconvenienced him, and fixed things for me when I wasn’t 100% certain how to do it myself. No matter how many times I say thank you or do something to show my appreciation for these things, he tells me he has “outlived his usefulness”. Unfortunately through all that help, he has also been highly disrespectful, overly demanding, and extremely abusive. He always expects to be forgiven simply because he is my brother, but it is not always possible to forgive unforgivable things. I realize that is a lesson he needs to learn for himself.

So as I proceed, I am certain my eyes will be swollen shut at some point from all the crying, but hopefully he will flourish without my presence. I will never stop being his sister or his friend, but I’ve done all I can to “keep the family together”, my Grandmother’s dying plea to me. Maybe it was an unfair request, but I think I’ve held up the three promises I made to her before she passed away, to the best of my ability, as this was long before my Fibromyalgia diagnosis when I only had two things plaguing my life.

I don’t know how to turn off the maternal gene, it’s ingrained in who I am. It’s possible I have always been overprotective. Here’s hoping that one day my brother can look back on all of that and know in his heart that I’m not abandoning him, I am simply making important changes with a hole in my heart. I cannot allow guilt to make my decisions for me. I cannot allow tears to hold me back, because no matter what, my life and happiness are equally important.

I pray I am making the right decision for all involved. I also pray that he will soon realize that I’m not choosing someone else over him, but that I am choosing me for the first time in my life.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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