Weird and sad and unsettled day

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.


19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brown Suga' on November 26, 2011 at 6:01 am


    My sincere condolences.


  2. I’m so sorry for your loss, Lauo, for her passing, and for the loss of ten years of being able to have a relationship with her.


  3. ((((hugs)))) Sorry about your loss, but even more so about your discovery. I had something quite similar happen. It’s not a very good feeling at all. It’s hard to describe. Part of you wants to go on pretending you hate the person (hey, worked so far) and the other part wants to accept the fact the person really did love you, but if you do that you want to cry. Should you cry? Can you? Are you angry the person left you with that feeling?That’s an awful batch of emotions to remember a person by (especially family) but that’s what I was left with over my uncle when I was requested by him (from his death bed) and my dad’s side of the family not to attend his funeral after “getting knocked up by a spic”. I honored his wishes only to find out later that my own father had provoked it. I didn’t speak to him or to that side of the family for a long time. (((((more hugs)))))


  4. Oh this is so sad, Lauo. I am so sorry.
    But what can you do but mourn the loss of her and the loss of that relationship. It was her decision and it sounds like she made a lot of bad decisions.

    So sorry for your loss. (((hugs)))


  5. ((((hugs)))) I’m so sorry for your loss, Lauo, what a shock.


  6. I’m so sorry, Lauo.

    It’s hard to know what to say in a situation like this, so I’ll make do with:



  7. Hugs are much appreciated.
    Sisters Two, Three, and Four and I are all coping and being mutually Good About Things.
    So that much is okay.
    The only potential problem is Sister Two wants to actually bury Tina with the parents in Mississippi, which would cost money that is not at all likely to be in Tina’s estate, and which no one is enthusiastic about finding themselves for the purpose.
    And Sister Two had recently lent, and not been repaid, something like $5,000 to Tina, which is also unlikely to be found in her estate.
    So we are all gently trying to talk her around to liking the idea of cremation, and Sister Three taking the urn along with her next time she visits the extended family there.

    Poor Sister Two was probably closest, having been raised essentially in a pair with Tina.
    Tina largely loathed her, which is rather like someone hating a Golden Retriever.
    So we are all united in trying to help her through this.


  8. I think the word sad does so little to convey my feelings about this, but it’s one of the few words that my brain can muster. I don’t have a very large emotional vocabulary, unfortunately. I hope that everyone can find answers to the questions her death brings. It took several months to put the story together when my brother died, but it helped immensely with the grieving process. (((HUGS))) So sorry to hear.


  9. ♥♥♥(((Hugs)))♥♥♥
    Of course you are sad, your sister died. The sister that practically raised you or at least had as much with your early years as did your Mom. So you are naturally sad that she has passed. Just because she hadn’t spoken to you in 10 years does not mean that she did not love you nor did it change your love for her.

    Since finances are so tight between the four of you I see no reason why Tina should not be cremated. If she is cremated then the urn with her ashes can be taken to Mississippi the next time one of you heads in that direction. I don’t know how much it would cost to have the urn buried with your parents, but that is an option along with a small and simple headstone.

    I am so sorry for your loss.


  10. Lauo, I’m so terribly sorry to hear about this. The loss of potential, the possibility of reconciliation…these are the hardest sorrows to bear. Somehow the hope for those things doesn’t die until the person does.

    Sending you many loving (((hugs))). I’m glad your sisters are there to help.


    • what jaypo said… I have few words; can only say that I was in a very similar situation with my late brother and it’s very, very hard.

      (((((((((laou and sisters))))))))))


  11. So sorry, Lauo. Families are so complicated. They can bring out the best and worst in each of us. So sad that Tina deprived herself of your love and deprived you of hers. But it sounds like you and Sister Two are there for each other. I think Trish has a great suggestion to simplify the desire to bring Number One Daughter to Mississippi. I hope it can all be done as you all wish. *hugs*


  12. I really can’t add anything to what the other peeps have said, but I echo their best wishes.


  13. It’s really hard to reach out to someone who has essentially slammed the door on you. Tina was lucky to have in the end three sisters who are stepping up to take care of her estate and her remains. A lot of people who behave like her often end up in a potter’s field, or their ashes boxed and shuffled from one place to another in the hopes there’s a relative somewhere who’ll take care of them.

    I think we learn from these experiences to value our families—those who are still talking to us, anyway—and to appreciate their care and what they do for us. And I hope I don’t ever put my kids through that kind of grief. “Cause old age can make us funny that way.

    *Hugs* for you and your sisters.


  14. Posted by Margy Rydzynski on November 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m also sorry to hear she was alone when it happened. Very sad, but you sound like you were a good sister to her. Hugs


  15. Posted by geologywoman on November 29, 2011 at 12:15 am

    L, I am sorry I was working the past five days and missed this! Your last sentence is so very sad. I wish I knew what to say about that except well, of course she loved you, you are quite lovable. And I know she knew you were trying to help but perhaps she was too proud. It seems maybe she would not let others love her and it really sucks about that preacher sucking away her money, top shelf in the oven in hell for him (the one nearest the burner).
    I am also sorry your sister cut you off for telling her like it is. “But there is, of course, nothing less welcome than good advice:” Yep. : (


  16. Lauo, I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sorry that she left a sister shaped hole in your life like that. It sounds like there was a lot going on with her… This is just so sad.



  17. (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Lauowolf))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    Incredibly sad….


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