One of the hardest parts of being the last in your immediate family is not being able to reminisce with a family member about the departed.
The people you love live on in the stories you tell. When you tell the stories within your family, you share your family’s history. It doesn’t matter if the tales are reminiscences or have been passed down for generations. As the stories are exchanged, the family legends are fed and grow. One is added to another. Those who have passed are alive again. The conversation and your family history are living, breathing entities.
Being the last means the stories stop with me. I can tell friends, but often the reaction is “you’ve already told me that.”
I lost my last remaining sibling on Oct. 31. It would have been my parent’s 68th wedding anniversary. Mom’s birthday was November 3; she would have been 95. Scott would have been 74 on the 19th of November.
While Scott was in the process of dying — and I knew from the same signs as my mom’s that it was going to be a matter of hours — I repeated the same steps I took with mom. I told the stories. My SIL — and to be fair, she was on her last nerve; she was about to lose her husband — told me “Scott told me that 100 times before.” I just kept on because my reminiscences were for him and for me. I’m the last torch-bearer.
As my SIL and I were leaving, I asked if I could have a moment alone with him. It was at that time I told him I loved him and would like him to stay. I also told him there were those who loved him on the other side, waiting to hug him and guide him, if his decision was to pass on. I refused to cry because that wouldn’t help him. He always got so upset when I cried. I wasn’t about to do what Mamie did to Carl and try to call him back when it was his time to leave.
I cried later.
Scott fought long and hard through so many medical issues. And now he’s with Mom, Dad and Dan, along with all the others who have gone before.
I’m here with the memories and stories. That has to be enough.
Dear Cathey, I am so sorry to read this. May your brother Scott guide you, now that he is on the other side, and his memory make you smile one day. Thank you for writing this much love, Jill.