Monday, May 3, 2010

Numb and Lonely

Yesterday was so exciting for me. I was really delighted for Will and his victory. But then something strange happened.

I went numb.

I can't explain it entirely but I shut down. It was the strangest feeling. I didn't feel myself at all. I was quick to think that it was gnarly hormones, but I knew this was different.


I didn't feel anxious or depressed. Numb.

Almost like I couldn't endure anymore worry. I needed to tuck it away someplace and not let it nip at my ankles for one afternoon. Just for one afternoon.

I went to bed and the tears began to flow. Seventeen-years-ago I went into labor and had my first baby boy. SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO TODAY.

It was a bittersweet day. I bore a child that I have loved with every fiber of my being. But my sister had not lived to see him. BITTERSWEET.


I had to move forward. I had no choice. I had lost my best friend in the world, my big sister. She was supposed to be there for me forever. And she died.


She would have been there in the room with me when Kyle was born but she was dead. Instead my mother was waiting outside with my dear friend Judy. They tried to fill in the gaps.

My mother sat there fully aware that she had just lost her oldest daughter and she was about to meet her grandchild. I had the best medicine for her. But she had developed Alzheimer's.


I put one foot in front of the other and loved my baby. I loved him more because he didn't have the love of his Aunt Georgie. And I know how she would have spoiled him. And I know how she would have loved him.

I had to keep her alive for him.


People showered love upon me and Kyle on this blessed day. They knew my loss. Our loss. They tried to fill in the pieces.

I've done the best I could. Now, he is practically a man. Georgie would be proud of him. But he lost out. He lost out.

She didn't. I have to believe this. She sees him, knows him, loves him. I have to believe this.

Not numb now. Tears stain my cheeks.

Today on my son's 17th birthday I miss my sister so very much.

Dear Georgie:

I wish you were around for the journey. I need you so much everyday, for so many reasons but mostly I need you to hit me over the head and tell me to get my head out of my derrière and not be afraid of life.

Thanks for everything you ever did for me. And I'm so sorry that I didn't make your death any easier.

I know I don't have to say I love you because you know that. Unconditional love.

I will try and ride the proverbial wave you always told me about. I will hear your voice in my head. And I will fill the house with laughter. And I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and not judge myself too harshly.

You wouldn't recognize how old I have become. Your little sister. Your sister who knew you better than anybody else. The sister you understood better than anyone else. Unspoken love and friendship. Together forever. Old and a little less NUMB.


Our baby is seventeen today. But you know that.


  1. Heartwrenching Terry. I am so sorry you lost your sister and miss her so much; you must've had quite a bond to feel this way, and that's a precious gift. Numb can help us get thru the pain till we can bear to feel again, as I'm sure you well know.
    Your sister would be so proud of the woman you are. And of the mother you are, to a 17 ALMOST MAN!! Congrats. xo

  2. The loss of your sister is greater than anything I can comprehend. But I do know your joy of motherhood. Your sister must be very proud of you, the woman you've become, the mother you've become, and the sons you have raised. I also wager that your sons must know of your love for your sister and share a similar bond between themselves. Congrats on being a mom. Happy birthday Kyle!

  3. What a lovely tribute to your sister - I am glad that you know that she is always with you.

    We now have something else in common - 15 years ago today Declan was born!

    Take care.

  4. Wow...goose bumps and tears. What an incredible tribute to your sister. I didn't lose my sister, but I do know how your children growing older and out of the house can make all these things come to the forefront. Someone once told me after I was lamenting about Molly going away to college and they had read the memoir that for every loss their is a gain. I took comfort in this. I send you a poem by Lonfellow.
    "Loss And Gain" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    When I compare
    What I have lost with what I have gained,
    What I have missed with what attained,
    Little room do I find for pride.

    I am aware
    How many days have been idly spent;
    How like an arrow the good intent
    Has fallen short or been turned aside.

    But who shall dare
    To measure loss and gain in this wise?
    Defeat may be victory in disguise;
    The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

  5. Terry,
    I'm so sorry that you lost such a beloved sister and I'm sure, like you, that a soul that big doesn't just die and that you've been aware of her continued existence, in a different form perhaps, all these years since.

    And Happy Birthday to Kyle!

  6. Bittersweet, yes, that's the perfect word. I'm so sorry you have to relive this coexisting joy and sadness ever year, especially this one. I wish that wasn't the way of it: good and bad, happiness and sadness, life and loss. And I'm certain your sister knows and loves her nephew and is so very proud of you.

  7. Terry, I hope that by writing about your numbness you are working your way into the feelings you want. And I hope that your son's birthday gave you the chance to be filled with joy and love for your family - son and sister. Thank you for sharing this powerful piece with us. Sending you hugs.

  8. Big fat tears running down my face, dripping into my lap. I relate to so many of these feelings, because I feel the same way about my mom missing all my children's milestones. I can't imagine how deeply it hurts to lose a sister. Mine keeps me sane these days.

    We almost lost my 13 year old son to an undiagnosed metabolic disorder when he was 8 weeks old. On the day I thought he was going to die they finally diagnosed him and turned our story around.

    Now, on every one of his birthdays, I cry. So thankful that we got to keep him. I don't cry on my other three kid's birthdays. Just Isaac's. Because he's the one I almost didn't get to keep.

    I feel your pain and your bittersweet joy, my friend. Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy.

    the other judy