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Sister is Terminal and I Don't want to See her
Asked Feb 2, 2008, 11:58 AM
My sister has a brain tumor. This was diagnosed 7 years ago. She went in for a biopsy, finally, yesterday. It didn't go well and she is in critical condition. However, she will probably live. No one knows how long. She seems stable, per the hospital this AM.
I am getting major pressure from my Mother and guilt to go see her and not only do I not want to, I don't feel bad about it. I feel empty.
The problem is that I am back in college and have exams this week. The way classes are structured, I will have to drop out and start again next winter. I am in my mid-40's so I don't have my whole life to continue my education and change careers.
Background on why I feel like I do:
My parents divorced when I was 12, sister was 15. My sister and I were typical I suppose. Since she was older she got more attention and she was prettier, slimmer and more outgoing than I. I was very shy, tall, too chubby and read a lot. (according to our Mother).
After the divorce our Mother called us "millstones around her neck". We interfered with her attempts to get remarried. (No one wanted a married woman with 2 kids per our mother; I had to say I was her sister to one of her boyfriends in an attempt to fool him into thinking she was not a mother)
My sister started dating a man 10 years older when she was 17. My mother accused her of "fornication" and told her to dump the guy or she could move out. My sister moved out. She dropped out of high school and she and her boyfriend lived in his grandmothers basement. My mother wouldn't speak or see them until they were married...they were fornicating so she couldn't/wouldn't. (religious stuff)
My sister got pregnant and married within 6 months. She and her husband each brought out the worst in each other. She became meaner than she had been. She and he demanded money from our divorced parents telling them they owed her for a rotten childhood. (it was dysfunctional at best; dad remarried a woman just like our mother, surprise)
Father refused and Mom gave money to them under the table, thinking I would not know. I was 15 when my sister married.
After sister had the baby I was the weekend babysitter. I drove to their apartment (he finally got a job in construction which he felt he was too good for) and babysat while they went out and partied. And they partied. My BIL was dealing drugs on the side. Sis knew and so did I.
Suddenly, there was a cutoff. I would call and get the answering machine. Same if my mom called them. They didn't call back. I drove to their home and asked what was wrong? My BIL cracked the door, said "nothing" and slammed it in my face.
I was 18 at the time and just starting college at the community college. I took out student loans and got Pell grants. Neither parent contributed to college.
Within months my sister and brother-in-law disappeared. No word from them nor his family (in Baltimore).
Out of the blue, about 3 years later, my sister called my Mom, asked for money (their electricity was being cut off) and told my Mom they had to leave Chicago for Baltimore because the Italian Mobsters were after her husband. My Mom tried to get information on how/why etc. And my Sister would only say her Husband got on the wrong side of them doing some work for them. What type of honest work does a non-Italian do for a Mobster? (rhetorical)
My sister called me out of the blue and acted like we had spoken last week. When I asked why she hadn?t spoken to me in almost 4 years, she said she was busy. I tried to carry on a normal relationship with her. Every few months, sometimes 12-18 months, it would go dark. I would call and call, leave message after message and get no response.
Then, again, after 3-5 years, she would call our Mom for money, call me and then a few months later, poof! Gone. We would not get our calls or messages returned.
During this time, my sister became nastier and nastier. If I disagreed with her on anything she would call me names. She always did when we were kids, however, these came based upon my belief in a different politician to why stop signs were required at certain intersections. No matter what I said I thought, she?d call me stupid and tell me why.
She firmly believes that she is smarter, better and all around stellar.
She would ask what my husband did and if he got promoted, she would say he was a suck up. She called us greedy when he got a raise. Needless to say after a couple of times of trying to share our good fortune with her hoping for a ?congratulations, that?s great?, I gave up.
During this time I sent Xmas cards, b-day cards and gifts to my nephew. Never got a thank you or acknowledgement of any of them.
One year my brother-in-law started calling in the middle of the night and he would tell me he didn't?t find her attractive anymore. He wanted to ?f?k me, lick me?.? Etc. He said the most vile, obscene things to me, I was sickened. He did this 3 times. Each time I told him he was disgusting, don?t call etc. I told him he should be saying and doing this to his wife, my sister. I would then hang up.
I found out he was doing it to my Mother at the same time! Her son-in-law was sexually/verbally assaulting us at the same time. My Mother insisted on telling my Sister who promptly said my Mother and I were jealous of her and her handsome husband and she would never speak to us again.
7 years later I get a call from my Sister acting like it was last week. It was 2001. I warily told her what was new (I had gone on to law school, husband got his MBA) and she sent me some E-mails that only confirmed my beliefs that she was crazy. If not crazy, a narcissistic personality. An uncle died a few months later and we agreed to meet in Chicago and go to the funeral. My mother paid for my sister and her now 25 year old son to come to Chicago and put them up in a hotel. I hadn?t seen my sister in about 12 years.
We chatted and she told me what a great person she was. I only told her I had a boring life. We went to the funeral, saw our father for the first time in years, and went home. I tried to call her and got no return calls. I tried and tried for 4 weeks to call her. A couple of times the phone was picked up and I heard her say ?Tell her to get f__d?. Click. The phone was slammed down. I gave up.
Then, in October, about 6 weeks later, I got an E-mail from her. It was 26 printed pages long. She told me she loved me but since I was loser and a total wreck, she didn't?t want anything to do with me. She brought up stuff from our childhood (35-40 years) and made it clear I was a complete and utter disappointment to her. (?!)
She told me that she wouldn?t accept any apology I might make to her and I she was done with me. Don?t contact her. She had a life to live and it was better off without me.
During this time I found out, from our Mother, she had a brain tumor.
I honored her wishes and never got in touch with her. I sent the E-mail to both parents so they could see what I was subjected to.
Father didn't?t respond. Mother said she was just a confused young woman and I should call and apologize to her! I told our Mother no. I refuse to apologize for yanking her ponytail when I was 8. An similar things.
I refused to be bullied and emotionally blackmailed after being verbally abused by her. She also called my husband all kinds of names. During this time, over 25 years, she and her husband worked sporadically and my Mother supported them.
Since then my Mother has waged a war with me, trying to get me to call Sis and just ?get over it?. In the mean time, my sister, under the guise of sending my mother E-mail, sent some to me. She calls me some more vile names and, again, calls my husband names. (she met my husband 2 times.) This has happened 3 times over the last 7 years. My Mother has dismissed each one and then will lie to cover for my sister. My Mother is another issue.....
2 months ago my Mom told me she was finally getting a biopsy for her brain tumor. My Mother insisted I phone her, patch things up because blood it thicker than water, etc. I gave in and called. My sister called me after my 3rd and final attempt.
She picked up like all the previous times. Telling me what a brilliant person she was, how stupid our Mother is and why our Mother won?t give her more money. I just listen and go ?Hmmm?, ?huh?, ?grunt?.
I have spoken to her 2x and E-mailed 3-4. One of her calls and E-mails was a racist, hate filled rant on stuff I was shocked to hear someone say let alone write.
Suddenly, this week, I get a call from my Mom, telling me she is getting her biopsy and she will be a vegetable from it. I got her to calm her down, telling Mom that between all the research we have both done there is a very good chance it will go well and after radiation she will be OK.
My Mom demanded that I drop everything and go see my Sister. I refused. My Mother said I was a selfish, amoral, horrible person. How could I let my only sister die without me there?
Frankly, I feel numb. I don?t feel like she is my sister. After all the years of no contact and then some, then none, etc., she is like an annoying acquaintance. After her last diatribe and horrible E-mails I resolved to not be drawn into her world or games. Our mother can. She has given my Sister approximately $100,000 over the years and somehow feels guilty for throwing her out of the house all those years ago.
I am wondering if I am abnormal? Is this amoral? I feel empty thinking about my sister. I just don?t feel an obligation to go sit by my Sisters bedside. I will go to her funeral.
My husband is neutral. I never showed him the main hate filled E-mail from her. Just that she had some really uncharitable things to say about him. He has never once told me to cut her off, or that she is a loon. Nothing. He is praying for her anyway. (he has very strong faith, I do not)
Any advice? Comments? Sorry for the length. I felt background was necessary. Thank you for any guidance.
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:06 PM
If I were you I'd have nothing to do with her. And if my mother didn't like it I'd have nothing to do with her either.
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:08 PM
After everything they have put you through by refusing you to see her I don't blame you for feeling numb. Numb can be survival mode when you can't do anything about a situation.
I have heard that brain cancer can cause personality change but her husband should have been a little more cooperative by explaining she doesn't want to see anybody or whatever.
I can understand you feeling funny going to see her after all her refusals to see you. The ball was in her court and still is.
You don't know you could be respecting her wishes by not going.
No I don't think you are not normal or amoral. She has hurt you. IF you find out she would want you to go or her husband asks you to then maybe you should But I don't think it is up to your mother.
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:16 PM
What you are responsible for in your life is *taking care of yourself*. If it is unhealthy for you emotionally to go visit a sick relative in a nursing home because of the negative pull of the past on your emotions, you just have to let it go. Family members can be those who treat us the worst in life, right? That was my experience and apparently yours.
Send her a beautiful card if she is conscious, and as you sign it, think that this is the beginning of your final permanent separation with your sister. You will have to cry and mourn to get your feelings out.
NOw, if you can visit her once and say goodbye, then cry and mourn, that will give you a boost in your self-confidence and esteem going into the future.
My thoughts are with you,
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:18 PM
I'm sorry that your family is going through this and sorry, not only that your sister is very ill, but also that she shut you out of her life. I think maybe it would help if you talked to a counselor or religious leader (if you're a religious person).
I can understand how you feel since your sister has said and done many hurtful things to you. However, I think that if you do not go, you may someday deeply regret it. Now, I'm not telling you to go, that is entirely up to you, and I don't know the whole situation. But, I've seen people in this situation who didn't go, and they ended up deeply regretting it after the fact and it made them horribly depressed. But, if it makes you more depressed to go, then you have to do what is healthy for you.
Perhaps going and talking to your sister now would be an opportunity to clear the air and make peace between the two of you. You could tell her that although you have been deeply hurt by her in the past, you love her and hope that she gets well. Also, it may be important for you to have the opportunity to settle things between the two of you. However, if she still feels that she doesn't want anything to do with you, then respecting her wishes may be best. And if you decide it's best to not go, don't let your mom make you feel guilty. It sounds like she has put you through enough already. Don't let her guilt trip you.
If she dies and you never have a chance to talk to her, you may really regret it someday, even if you don't feel anything about it now. Then again if you go, and she doesn't want you there, you will feel worse. Can your mom or someone ask her how she feels about the issue? Grief comes in many stages, denial, shock, etc. Sometimes we just feel numb when we know someone is dying. In your case, I'm sure you started grieving for the loss of your relationship with her long ago, when she shut you out of her life.
I'm not telling you what to do or anything, like I said, I'm outside the situation so I would never judge. I'm just asking you to consider talking to a counselor about the whole situation. I'll be keeping you and the whole family in my prayers.
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:27 PM
My father has done even less to me than your sister has done to you. Mainly because I shut his lying sorry a$$ down as soon as he attempts to contact me. I have nothing for him. No person on this earth will make me feel guilty about that. I will not even discuss it with anyone, good or bad about him. He lives on this earth the same as I do and I wish him (happiness) the same as I would any stranger...if he insisted on messing with me then I would take care of him the same as I would any stranger that messed with me. I tell you this because your situation with your sister is far worse than mine is with my sperm donor. They will blame anyone to keep from placing the blame where it needs to go.
You are just a victim of their hell...stop being her victim.
Go on with your education and life, if moma doesn't like it then let her go on as well. She doesn't sound to damn great to me anyway, so I don't think you'll be loosing a great source of comfort there. Family loyalty can only go so far. Live your life in as much peace as you possibly can, I know what crap nuts like this can fill your mind with. Believe me its your not at fault.
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:50 PM
If I were you, the question I would be asking right now is the very same the prophet Jeremiah asked years ago: "Why does the way of the wicked prosper?" It certainly seems as if that is what you've gone through. You did the good and honest thing, and your sister kept pushing you away and always making you feel bad about yourself. She is a manipulator. At least you tried to pay your own education with loans. I will suggest that you stay in school, like you said you are 40 and you need to finish asap. However, anger and confusion may question the value of honesty and revenge. That is a natural respond, and it is the part of evil that is so insidious. It temps good people to make bad choices. I have suffered physical and emotional abuse from my dad and mom, but I still love him and visit him once a month. It is not an easy road. Your relationship with your sister ended a long time ago. It seems to me that she has psychological problems. About the e-mails-some feelings are so intense that the only way to deal with them is to put them into words, your sister is very angry. But it is not normal to ask you for an apology, my little sister use to bite me all the time, one time she caused a big bruise, and she doesn't owe me an apology, she was a kid for God's sake! I love my sister with an unconditional love. Your sister reminds me of Generosa who murdered her husband in East Hampton, Ted Ammon, she was so cruel all her life and at the end she dies of cancer, but refuses any company and finally gets assistance for suicide. She died alone. However difficult it is for me to give you an advice, I would tell you what I would do. I would go to visit one last time to keep my conscience clear and close that chapter in my life forever. If you don't go, you might feel guilty later, it could be on your own death bed, when you regret it. I would advice you to visit her over the weekend when you don't have class, even if you stay 15 minutes. Also, teachers are very good at understanding a family emergency. They can make exceptions. I was out of school for 2 weeks and my instructors were understanding. They can help. If you go now, you don't have to go to the funeral, just pray for her soul. I wish you the best in school. You are smart and if your sister or anyone made you feel less than attractive, let me tell you that the brain is the sexiest organ in a human body. A good soul makes a person's beauty.
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Feb 2, 2008, 12:58 PM
Sorry, I hadn't noticed she asked you not to go, your post is long and I tend to speed read...... Then you should just go on with your life, unless she calls you personally and asks you to go. If she's in a coma, she won't call you, so respect her initial wish. If your mother always gives in to her, then your mother has a problem. That problem is called favoritism. Don't listen to your mother, she doesn't have control of her own life. Giving her money to repay sound so pathetic.
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Feb 2, 2008, 01:21 PM
Thank you for your time and kind responses.
I am thinking of speaking to a priest. My husband is Catholic and I go with him every week to mass. One of the priests seems very nice. I am not religious (I was raised a Jehovah's Witness and like many who leave a religion like that turn agnostic). I'm not even sure what to say to a priest...
I know I have to take care of my mental/emotional health first. My sister has been a source of friction between my Mom and I for as long as I can remember. My Mother insists that no matter what my sister has said or done to me I should just forgive her (and her scumbag husband) and Sis and I will be best friends.
We will never be friends, let alone best. The deceptions and lies are too deep to be cut through at this point. And, I think Sis and my Mom have come to believe their own lies. I simply could not and will never trust her.
Weird thing is my Mom and her 3 sisters are all estranged. When I try to point out to my Mom that she could forgive them, she tells me they are the most vile people on earth and God is going to destroy them at Armageddon. (She's a religous nut, honest) I have told her that I will attempt a reconciliation with my sister when she does with hers. That makes her not talk to me for days....
I have sent flowers and sent them from my Husband and I.
If my Sister makes it through this week, I'll probably be able to visit her.
I just don't want it to turn into a "Tv Movie of the Week" kind of thing. I am the type of person who will get caught up in the moment and say what I think someone else wants to hear. I'll then think about it later and realize it was not what I wanted to say and/or mean. I hope that makes sense.
I think I might feel guilty/depressed if I don't see her before she dies, yet, I still feel like I won't. I currently don't and that makes me think I'm a robot or crazy myself. How could you not want to see your sister before she dies? I just don't have any happy memories from the last 30 years of her. All memories of her are of disagreements and fights. Walking on eggshells.
The feedback and comments above have been very helpful. The points about regreting it later are probably true also. Then again, when our father died shortly after my Sister's reconnect in 2001, I was sad. Yet, in spite of his terrible parenting, I never regretted not being able to say good bye or seeing him more. He was toxic.
I have a lot to reflect on the next few days.
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Feb 2, 2008, 01:29 PM
That sounds like your mom may be trying to live the life she wished she could have with her sisters through you. Meaning she wishes she had sisters she could be close to and since she feels she can't she is pushing you for what she wished for for herself.
She should see how your sister treats you and keep her relationship with you separate from anything to do with your sister.
She should stay out of your relationship with your sister.
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