I was called today by a nice young man from the Raleigh North Carolina police.
My oldest sister has died, and I was the only family contact whose information he could find. Tina hasn’t spoken to me for about ten years.
She was my oldest sister. The one who got double 8oos on her SATs back in 1958. She was ten years older than me, and probably ended up diapering me as often as my mother did. When I was three I got to her birthday cake in the kitchen and attacked it before her party. When she was in college she would get stuck with watching me, and would bring me along with her to campus. She was really smart, and lived for a while in Bagdad, and then London in the swinging 60s – though she wasn’t anything of a 60s person at all.
She could be completely charming, but she was her own worst enemy. She persisted in setting up psychodramas, where she replayed some kind of primal family trauma, settling up pseudo-families but never finding a way to make her new parent figures love her best. Then she’d refigure friends or family into enemies and cut them off forever. She was a good hater.
I had tried to warn her off the fundamentalist preacher who took all her money – she spent her entire inheritance supporting his family and investing in his losing schemes, ending up with only her disability payments to live on. Nice guy, fleecing a blind woman. But there is, of course, nothing less welcome than good advice: she cut off all contact with me, and we never spoke again.
The nice officer told me she died alone, a day or two ago. He said it looked like natural causes. She had many serious health issues, making this quite possible. The medical examiner is looking into it, though, as they have to do with any death without medical attendance. I hope the officer is correct, and that it wasn’t suicide, but the timing worries me.
When I spoke to my second oldest sister today, the one who managed to keep Tina talking to her, she told me Tina loved me very much.
I was doing okay until then.