Stage 5

Things are finally starting to calm down here and I’m feeling somewhat normal again. I know…normal is relative, but hey…I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Dad’s been moved from the condo into a nice little double-wide on the 15th green of the Bethel Island Golf Course. Yep, he’s high-falutin white trash now. He doesn’t play golf but he does drink and the clubhouse is just 120 yards away; you could hit it with pitching wedge if you were so inclined. The trailer is nice and more than sufficient for his needs and he has the help of a new girlfriend to make it nice and homey.

Did I say new girlfriend? Actually, she’s his childhood sweetheart from grade school in Arkansas. Really. It’s a long story but in the 50 years since they last saw each other they’ve somehow homed in on the same location and live barely 10 miles apart. They’re so cute together and happy as can be and I’m lucky to have an extra pair of eyes to keep watch over him.

Once we got Dad settled in, Mark and I drove the 700 miles home in one very long day, pulling a trailer full of my sister’s belongings. Sorting through all those items has had the greatest impact on me. With all the immediate issues resolved, the grief hit hard and deep. I could barely open a box without falling apart so it’s been a very long, low period that I’m finally pulling out of.

Most difficult was looking through keepsakes she’s kept since we were kids and despising the fact that I no longer have anyone to share those memories with. I can talk to others about those times but they’re just tales, stories of my past. Not a shared experience. I kept thinking how funny it would be to sit there with her looking through all this detritus; her robust laugh, tears streaming down our cheeks, both gasping for breath until she runs off to the bathroom trying not to pee her pants. Oh, yes, this happened frequently, and she didn’t always make it, which would only make us laugh all the harder.

So, I’ll no longer have Cheryl to remind me of details I may have forgotten or to share the knowing laughter of that experience. Reminiscing now is one sided, one dimensional, just hanging there in my mind to slowly slip away along with my memory…and a lot has already slipped.

Now the keepsakes inciting these memories have been placed on shelves, hung on walls or packed neatly away for future reminiscing; a little bit of Cheryl in each one of them.  It’s time to move on, step back into the world, get Cheryl out of my head…but keep her in my heart, where she’ll stay with me forever.

Sleep well, Sissy.

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8 responses to “Stage 5

  1. A very touching tribute to your sibling Rodger… makes me appreciate what I have even more.

  2. Welcome Home!

    My sister and I were just talking on the phone about how much we missed our parents. And also how some people don’t realize what they have and what they waste….

    Jim

  3. hey there rodger. good to see a post. been thinking about you lots and lots.

  4. That’s a beautiful tribute to your sister, and some nice memories. It’s good to hear your online voice again. be well- and I’ll see you soon.

  5. thank you Rodger for sharing that with us.

  6. Rodger, I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you have the happy memories to help you.

  7. Sorry for your loss. Thank-you for sharing.

  8. I’m so sorry, Rodger. Good thoughts to you …

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