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Watching Beth, Part Two: This Sucks Lemons

The WhatsApp came in while I slept. It was from my sister-in-law, telling me about her Easter visit with Beth.

I read the text and cringed, fighting back the tears that came up because I had a meeting in five minutes. Then I thought: I’ll process this after.

Truth be told, this sucks lemons. I know saying “sucks” isn’t professional. Cut me some slack—my sis is being eaten alive by this thing called cancer, and I’m going to say “suck” because this word describes it best.

I’m witnessing the decline of a woman who attacked her life with energy, maybe took on too much at times, and loves her family deeply. This leads me to the “it isn’t fair” thing.

Who says life is fair? Where is that written? OK, maybe in the land of the narcissist? I wish life were fair, with quiet lives lived out and peaceful, convenient deaths that we’re all prepared for. It makes me think of that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Deanna’s mother, Lwaxana Troi, meets this guy who is scheduled to return to his planet to die because his society doesn’t what want to impose or inconvenience itself with the brutality of old age. Really? Wow!!

So yes, watching Beth, or hearing about it, does suck, and my job is to figure out how to handle the news in a reasonable manner. So, I’m stuffing until I can let it out, blogging, and crying because that is what I need to do to process this ugly, upcoming death.

In the first post, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be flying over to see her. She’s weak, can’t walk, and uses a wheelchair to get around. She’s in pain constantly. She’s on drugs and sleeps in two-hour intervals. One of these days, she’ll slip into a gentle coma and then die. Her reality is that she’ll slip away, and my reality is that flying there would be useless because I’d be sucking energy from her. Visits suck energy when you’re sick. If my nieces, who are now there more often, find a window of good phone time, I’ll call. I can’t help but think that even a phone call at this point will suck energy. Time to use only e-mail and have someone read it to her, as she is also blind.

As I sit here with the feelings gushing out, I can’t help but cry. My Beth, my older sister who played the piano while I sang when we were young, my sister who could sew up a storm, is dying, and I’m here and not there, and this is hard. No, it isn’t fair. No, why must she suffer? Why doesn’t her body shut down and let her leave? Once again, I see lemons. I can’t hold the tears back, and I won’t stop them now. Sweet Beth, I’m sending buckets of love, a gentle hug, and a song.


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