Dear sister: You weren’t there for me the one time I needed you
Recently my mother went through a serious, near-fatal health scare. She fell down some stairs backwards, hit her head very hard, and had bleeding inside her skull/brain. She could have gone either way, but fortunately, after 11 days in the hospital, she survived. One doctor was so happy when she woke up that he gave me a “high five.” He said they don’t get that many cases that end happily, and you have to celebrate them.
I’ve been sick
If you’ve read this blog over the last few months you also know that I have been very sick lately. I’ve been having situations where I pass out, and others where I start to pass out, and I have been constantly light-headed. Recent bloodwork has been all over the place, showing that I have Stage III Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), low white blood cell count, and other problems. I had no plans of traveling 1,000 miles to see my family this winter, but when my mother was hospitalized with bleeding in her brain, I thought this might be my last chance to see her, and I wanted to try to be there for her, and to help two of my sisters care for her. My oldest sister, who also lives 1,000-1,500 miles away, chose not to make the trip, as she was going to be coming out in about twenty days, and had also just interviewed for new jobs.
My mother fell down some stairs
About a week after I was staying with my mother in the hospital, all of my symptoms came back in a rush, and over a 36-48 hour period it was all I could do to stay conscious. When this first started I contacted my oldest sister, told her I was starting to have problems, and I asked if she could come help us, as we had to stay with my mother 24 hours a day. If we didn’t stay with her, the hospital was going to have to restrain her, or have a sitter stay with her, and in either of those cases they wouldn’t let her out of the hospital.
My oldest sister to the rescue - not
My oldest sister initially said yes, she’d check into it, but then she backed out, and in short, she never came to help us. In an effort to get my mother out of the hospital I had to lay flat so as not to pass out, and stay in the room with my mother. I held on to my own consciousness as long as I could, before finally calling one of my other sisters to bail me out. This was on the day that my mother was scheduled to be released, but again, if we couldn’t keep her restrained ourselves, the hospital would have to restrain her or call in a sitter, and once they did that they wouldn’t release her. (My mother didn’t know what was going on, so she kept trying to get out of bed, but when she saw me or one of my sisters sitting with her she would relax and close her eyes for a few minutes before trying to get out again.)
On this last day my second oldest sister relieved me and I went home, got some sleep, then got sicker and was admitted to the hospital myself. I was proud that I stayed with my mom as long as I could to help her get out of the hospital, but now I was admitted in, and it would be three days before they let me out. (They finally let me out when they realized my problems weren’t getting any better by staying there.)
During all of this, and in several days after this, my oldest sister — who never did come help us out — kept trying to tell me what my health problems were. In fact, she even suggested that I should see doctors that I was already seeing. I told her that she was finding doctors that I was already seeing, and furthermore they weren’t the specialists that I really needed to see, but she proceeded to send me their address and phone number. I finally had to text her and ask, “What are you doing?”
As one last point on this topic, while I was laying in a hospital bed trying not to pass out, she called me up and told me how much stress she was under because our mother was sick, and now I was sick. To reiterate this point, she’s healthy, 1,500 miles away from both my mother and I, and she refused to come help me when for the first time in my life I needed her help, and she had the gall to tell me how much stress she was under. That pissed me off to no end, and it still pisses me off today. In fact, the reason I’m writing this rant today is to just get it out of my system.
Why I’m so angry about this
As I thought about this just now it finally occurred to me why I’m so angry with her, and the primary reason is what I just said: For the first time in my entire life I needed her help, and she said no. She and her husband make over $200K per year — maybe over $250K per year — but it was more important to her to try to set up a blood test for a potential new job than it was to help me and my other sister when we needed her help the most. So yes, I’m pissed off about this. I know she’s angry at me for something I said on the phone on Christmas Day, and I do regret what I said, but the more I think about everything the more angry I am at her. In the end she chose money over helping her family. (And then further tried to tell me how to live my life after refusing to actually be there for us.) If that’s the way she wants it, fine.
As you may know from reading this website, I write a lot about Buddhism and spirtuality, and over time I will find a way to forgive my oldest sister, but for today, I have no desire to speak to her again. She chose a small amount of money over helping family members she claims to care about, and that really pisses me off. “Deeds, not words,” is the phrase that comes to mind.