Conversations That Matter


Some of my loved ones, as viewed from my bed

My brother Robert died a year ago.


I can’t tell you how much it sucked getting that unexpected news on a train. I rarely shed tears, yet I couldn’t keep from sobbing into my jacket. In public. On the train.


Like my sister Jane, Robert also shouldn’t have died. They weren’t in the best health. Still, they went in for a “simple” procedure and yet both perished from a hospital acquired staph infection.


I’m really pissed about that. And getting madder by the day.


The family I grew up in was really messed up, so my relationships with all of my siblings has been difficult. We just weren’t given the blueprints for building meaningful bonds.


Of the two who passed, both were much older than me—one by twelve years, the other by ten. Both have since found those blueprints—Jane, after her passing, and Rob, shortly before he died.

Rob was placed on life support three times before he finally called it quits. It was awful for him, and awful to watch.


As horrific as it was, I believe with every ounce of my being that he came off the respirator in part for me, as an act of love.


He knew I was wracked with guilt about my sister’s passing, and that the feeling didn’t leave me until Jane sent a message from the other side to put me out of my misery. Knowing this, Rob used his final months by gifting me with conversations that matter.


Both siblings who passed have now become my big sister and brother.


So the only pain remaining is that I miss them terribly, and, that I don’t get to be a good sister to them.


Here’s wishing that you don’t lose a sibling too early, because it’s a heartache like none I could’ve ever imagined. And if you haven’t been down that road, I hope you’re searching for the map that places you on the path towards loving relationships. However, if you’ve lost too soon like I have, I hope you’re able to connect to the other side. Because I’m here to say that it’s still possible to grow and heal your past relationships.

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