Monday, May 30, 2011

Sisters, Memorial Day

This is a weird way to memorialize Memorial Day. But honest, if that counts. I woke up thinking about my sister, Judy. 

Who died in the past ten years.  Of cancer. She'd braved chemo for four years.  Of the four girls--me and my three sisters--she was the only one who had kids, a comment on my family of course.  There's a whole lot I'm not going to say here.

We didn't have a great relationship and I knew I'd need help mourning her when she passed so I tried Gilda's Place, you know, Gilda Radner.  It's a great gift for grieving relatives but for me, flawed.  Gene Wilder unabashedly loved his wife.  Him, I believe. I needed another way to talk about my sister and ended up elsewhere (no specifics, sorry). 

What I have never chipped away at in trying to grieve or mourn her is what could have been.  What was--was my niece and nephew, two amazing, intelligent, joyous, complicated (but not too complicated), beautiful kids who are now beautiful adults.  Other than them and the fact of family (a big fact, granted) we, Judy and I, wouldn't have been friends (unless, in the big hypothetical, my not being family would made me more worthy in her eyes). Probably because our interests were so different but more because her response to mine was too often disinterest and contempt I had to hide so much of who I was around her. She made fun of my friends.

Who she met, granted, only because I lived in her house for two years in the early seventies.  It was my only fallback, my mother having moved on divorce before my first year in college was over. There was no other family. So when I was in my early twenties Judy left me there with her husband while she went on long business trips. No, it wasn't worse case scenario, but it was funky.

I can't even begin to explain how race figures into this. Mainly as a gift. Really and truly. But I was a chubby white hippie-influenced intellectual with a black inlaws, living in the Crenshaw District.  And my white sister was anti-intellectual and anti-art--or any art I liked.

She talked to me long and hard about her life.  I could never say much about mine.  Not to her. I don't think she wanted to know me, but I think she liked me. A lot of people liked me for a lot of years, but they didn't want to know me.  These days I want to know me and honestly care about only a few people.  My triple-Aquarianness accounts for my great caring for anyone used by others, the wretched on our earth, to paraphrase Frantz Fanon.  Otherwise, today at l east, I'm just trying to figure out how to connect better with the few.

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