A matter of perspective

I’ve been waiting a couple days to post this. I felt it was important to make sure as many people as possible would hear first hand before I said anything on such an anonymous medium as the Web. My oldest sister Lisa (not to be confused with my oft-refered to girlfriend Lisa) has been battling cancer for a few years now. She has been diagnosed with 3 different cases over that time and managed to beat the first two. Last week, after the latest attempts at chemo failed to provoke any response, her health faced a serious decline. Lacking any real options at this point we began to prepare for dealing with hospice care and the whole family headed home for the weekend. On Saturday my other sisters (Maureen, Christine, Suzanne, Kathleen, and Laura), my parents, and myself gathered at Lisa’s home along with her husband Matt and much of his family. It was devastating to see what havoc that disease had wreaked upon my oldest sibling – almost more than I could take. But we all bravely took the pain and shared our love with each other and our sick loved one. Late that night, however, Lisa finally succumbed to her cancer and passed away under the loving gaze of Matt. She is also survived by their three children, Jack, Connor, and Kelly.

I titled this post a matter of perspective because that’s exactly what a death such as this gives to you. Sunday night was yet another horrible championship outing (I cannot bring myself to use the word effort) by the Eagles, once again embarassing the city of Philadelphia. But I really can’t bring myself to care that much. I was hoping that they might at least provide me with a certain level of distraction, yet they failed in even that. Even with the game still very winnable I could see that most of the players really didn’t care, so why should I? I have more pressing issues on my mind, what do the efforts of overpaid little boys really matter in the long run?

Initially I wanted to write something far more powerful and possibly even inspiring in this spot. I felt as though my words could covey even a fraction of my emotional wreckage, but that was clearly wrong. It is the silence that truly brings out the sorrow. The most difficult time I’ve had, aside from confronting the dying body of my eldest sister, was telling one particular friend. I cried and hugged my family, and brokedown even further when I returned to my girlfriend, but words completely failed me when I tried to say anything to Heather.

We’ve known each other for a few years now and have developed rather strong abilities to read each other. When my sister was diagnosed with her second case of cancer, the first place I stopped by (I was single at the time) was Heather’s bar. She immediately knew something was up and wouldn’t let go of me for 5 minutes after I told her. When I walked into the Nag’s Head there was a heavy weight upon me. Heather asked us what was up, and Lisa just nodded in my direction. Heather looked at me. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. She knew immediately, and that’s what hurt even more.

Most of my friends were caught off guard by this. I had never really spoken about my sister’s illness, and Lisa was the only one I told about what was really going on this weekend. I felt that it would be easier to let people know after I got all of the answers at home. Unfortunately, time turned out to be far shorter than I thought. Now I have to go through the continuing pain of explaining to everyone how this all happened. My life is put on hold, and I’m in no rush to get it back. So what if I miss a bill payment right now or forget to send in my rebate form – life is too precious to subdivide into little deadlines. I’ll get to the details later, because in the end they’ll work out – for better or for worse, they will work out.

In the meantime I will continue with my life and focus on dealing without my sister, which hurts far more than a future without the Eagles.

7 thoughts on “A matter of perspective”

  1. I know you’ve probably heard this countless times already, worded one way or another, but Eva and I just wanted to express our condolences.

  2. I’m so sorry Thom. I can’t even imagine how much this must hurt. It’s frightening enough to watch my aunts battle cancer, but to have a sibling pass away after fighting it for so long must tear you up. I’m glad you have your family, friends and Lisa to lean on right now. My heart is with you.

  3. i’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister… i loss my uncle to cancer in november.
    i just want you and your family to know that you are in my prayers….. take care
    -luv, patricia

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments. It’s a difficult situation, but one I must work through along with my family. I have so much more to say on the topic, although I hope I don’t become too melancholic.

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