Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Ironies of Love

I write to process things. I write when the thoughts in my brain swirl around too much and need a release. I write because maybe, just like many people have told me, I simply think too much. I write. Sometimes my thoughts simply compose themselves in the form of stories. I rearrange them just so.

As many of you know, my oldest half-sister, Heather, was shot by her husband on Thursday night.

All day yesterday the thoughts wouldn't stop. All day as I sat in the ICU waiting room thinking of my sister and how all our lives how now been changed forever, it was just me and just my thoughts. I saw things in images and I tried to compose a logical story. But logic just can't exist in such an irrational world can it?

I saw my sister with a swollen face, with her entire body covered with bandages, with the only recognizable feature being her soft, long brown hair spread over the pillow in a fashion that was poetically beautiful, graceful and fragile. That first moment seeing her stopped my heart. How could that be someone I know? How could that be someone I love?

I sat in the ICU hallway because I didn't want to hear the television in the waiting room, clutching my bag with too tight fingers and an old lady in a wheelchair next to me. She looked sad and her body was frail and small and she was an age that I don't even know if I want to live to. To every hospital worker that walked by she screamed at the top of her lungs "Excuse me! You have my husband! I want my husband!" She couldn't go beyond the double doors because she was sick. They wouldn't let her. Her words just kept echoing in my mind. They had her husband, the ICU had her husband and they had my sister and they were calling the shots and they had other people in there. They had them.

My thoughts turned to my brother in law. They turned to the big hug he gave me before I left on my mission and how he told me he was proud. They turned to his height and strength and his smile and how he always made the perfect hamburgers at the family barbeques. They thought of how he held each of their three children with love and tenderness in the hospital after they were born. They thought of the day he married Heather. The day he stood by the priest and watched her walk towards him. Heather, in that white dress, married in a mountain grove of turning leaves in a beautiful Autumn flow of colors much like there are now.

My thoughts tried to put this story together, tried to compose how someone went through all of that and ended up in the driveway. She saying that she was leaving him. Him pulling out a gun and saying she would die first. Little Megan watching. Him shooting her four times, in the face, in each arm, in the knee. My brain can't make that into part of their story. They had a beautiful home, always good with money and always successful. They were always happy. They were to be envied, so how did this happen?

How can anyone do this to someone else? Any two strangers, how could they do this. What is humanity? Is the definition of that word lacking some malicious part that we pretend isn't there?

But how could two people who have shared so much have such a different story going on underneath the surface than the one my brain had been composing for them?

Yesterday, in that waiting room, I had a thought I haven't really ever entertained.

"I don't know if I believe in God anymore."

I don't know if God is apart of my story anymore.

At least not this weekend.

After an afternoon in the ICU I took a break. Then we went back in the evening.

We were in the waiting room. My dad and my mom were holding hands and leaning close together. My sister and her husband had their arms around each other and he was comforting her. My other sister had her boyfriend (almost fiance) and he was slowly rubbing her back and neck and being there. And my youngest sister had her fiance there, going to buy her some coffee, asking what he could do. And for just a few moments I cried selfishly. It was nice not to have anyone asking my why I was crying, we had all been crying. But for the first time that day I cried because I felt really, really alone. I cried because I didn't have that person to depend on. I cried because as we all sat quietly in the waiting room I just sat there and held my purse in my lap. I watched all my sweet sisters with the loves of their lives and I felt nothing but skeptical. I felt nothing but the fact that I was alone and maybe life is better when you don't depend on that one other person. Around me, in that waiting room, there was so much love. And yet, why was my sister bleeding and wounded behind those doors as a result of some twisted version of love? How could I be in the presence of such sweet and tender emotions as these four beautiful couples were showing last night? All the while sitting and waiting to hear if Heather would live because of what own husband had done to her. How is such a dichotomy of the same emotion even possible?

Last night the ironies of love were simply too much for me to handle.


Fletch said...

What? I am the first to comment?! How can that be??? I hate being the first comment.

Such a painful experience. I don't even know what to say. Except...that sometimes out of the worst experiences, we can become better people. And later, when we look back on those difficult times, we see that we grew or learned important lessons, and, though we wouldn't want to go back and relive them, we're grateful we experienced them because they made us who we are--they formed our character for the better. I will pray that someday you and your family will be able to look back on this experience and see how much you've grown because of it, how much more empathy you have for those in similar circumstances, how much your capacity to help others has increased...etc., etc.

You are in our thoughts and prayers, and remember, "This too shall pass..."

Ninny Beth said...

whoa. sending you love.

basindweller said...
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Sara P said...
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Stella said...

Thanks sweet friends. I really appreciate it so much. I think we are all getting out of the shock and we're all ready to start taking some action now. I know that I am. I'll keep you updated. Also, I'm so sorry,but I have to delete the comments that use my name. With my new job, I just can't have my very original name out there to be found.

Much love.

ophelia rising said...

I'm so sorry, Stella. I'm not sure what to say. How horrible, and how confusing. People do things sometimes that no one understands. Where does it come from? That flame that sparks under a person, that strange thing that resonates, allowing someone to react in such a way...I'm not sure what that is. I don't know that I've ever felt it. If I have, I couldn't even begin to understand it myself...

I'm thinking of you, and sending so much love to you. Please, please know that I am here. xoxoxo

MBAllen said...

Please know that I'm thinking of you and your family, you are in my prayers....