TJ died 7 months after his diagnosis. My Mother died 9 months after TJ. It has now been about 10 months since losing my Mother and I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. I knew I had these feelings in the back of my mind but I didn't realize how strong they were until last week.
My sister is retired and spends her summers back home in Indiana and her winters out here in Arizona. I enjoy it because we get to spend time together during the winter. My sister is 12 years older than me, and between her and my brother they are the only family I have left. I find it hard to believe that at the age of 45 I find myself at that point in my life that more of those that I love are dead than alive. I thought I would be elderly before reaching this point.
One evening last week I was at home playing with the dogs when my cell rang. The number showed up on the screen, but did not have a name associated with it. When I saw the area code my heart sank, it was an Indiana area code. I just knew it was one of my sister's friends calling to tell me my sister was sick or injured. I ran the dates in my head...TJ only lived 7 months after his diagnosis, Mom died 9 months later and it has been 10 months since Mom. Yes, it is time for my world to fall apart again. I sat with the phone in my hand just staring at it. I could not answer it. I thought that if I let it go to voicemail the bad news would be easier to handle. I was completely paralyzed, fixated on the area code. I then thought, what if they don't leave a message because it is too horrible to hear by voicemail. The fear of the person not leaving a message hit me like a semi truck. I immediately answered the phone.
I knew it was bad for sure. Judy has been a family friend for years and is the kind of person to speak up and volunteer to call me and let me know what has happened to my sister. I could feel the lump developing in my throat. The tears were beginning to form in my eyes. I was not sure I was even going to be able to speak. The fear had gripped me like the claws of a vulture snatching its latest victim. Judy then said to me:
"How do I heat up these tamales?"
"How do I heat up these tamales? I don't want to ruin them."
I know my voice cracked as I was explaining how to heat up frozen tamales. An intense feeling of relief washed over my entire body. The vulture had released his hold on me, the lump in my throat was beginning to diminish and the tears were receding.
Looking back on this, I laugh that I got that worked up over tamales, but I also wonder when this feeling of impending doom is going to leave me. Will it ever leave me? Will the passage of time reduce the intensity? A widow friend of mine posted a blog about this same feeling a few months ago. You can read her blog here. Meanwhile, I will be right here waiting for the other shoe to drop.