I must be in a self-flagellating mood. Because I can't stop thinking about all of the awful things I did to Ann, my sister who just passed away. The list runs the gamut from the Accidental to the Intentional to the Misguided:
Slamming the front door as Ann chased behind me, causing her hand to go through the plate-glass. (age 5)
Fighting with Ann at the dinner table over who got to gnaw on the steak bone. (age 7-10)
Trying to outperform Ann at school - especially when my teachers told me that she was their all-time favorite student...which was often. (age 6-18)
Copying everything that Ann did: Pixi haircut, purple eyeshadow, Contempo Casuals, working at the submarine shop and wearing bikinis with crocheted tops and Hawaiian-print bottoms. (age 5-25)
Telling everyone at elementary school that she had diabetes and not knowing what that meant. (age 10)
Returning to Oregon to celebrate Christmas with my boyfriend...only days after she had been hospitalized with toxic shock and was still in critical condition. (age 24)
Accidentally walking her into a concrete lamp post on our first outing together after she had lost her sight. (age 24)
Refusing to rummage through an apartment trash container to find a cherished piece of Crazy Quilt that she may have accidentally thrown away. (age 25)
There are dozens more, but here's the worst:
Sharing my concerns with Ann about her new boyfriend...because he initially lied to her about his age (he claimed to be 60 but he was closer to 70) and he blamed his bankruptcy on his past wives. (age 36)
This was only about 6 years ago, and I keep thinking..."Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I may have caused her to end up being alone. She adored that man. But I had to open my big mouth and tell her about my concerns. Because no one else in the family would do it. And even though I felt it was the right thing to do...now, I want to bludgeon myself, because she spent several years alone, and now that she's gone, it's killing me that I possibly encouraged her to make a decision that ultimately hurt her more."
I feel so awful about this. I can't stop sobbing. The memories keep flooding my mind, and my heart is aching and crying out, "I want a Do-Over. To get it right this time."