Sunday, August 3, 2008


I've just returned from a memorial service for a 20 year old who was killed in a horrible, fiery car accident, along with her boyfriend, and another couple, who were their best friends. Our church was filled, standing room only. There were people of all ages and races and sexual orientations and a million other differences, yet we were all united by our love for this young woman, Caitlin Lee.

Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Her parents adored her, as did everyone who knew her. She was their only child. I made me recall that, were it not for a miscarriage, I would have a child her age, whose birthday would have been this month. I wanted to have children "one day", but was consciously using birth control pills at the time, because I knew I didn't want to have children with the man I was married to at the time. I later learned that I'm infertile, that that pregnancy was just a "lucky" chance.

Over the years I soothed myself with the knowledge that, because I didn't have children, I had a much freer life than someone who did. But that didn't really quell my desire to be a mother. I've always loved children, probably because I'm the oldest of four. My youngest sister is 7 years young, and she is the one of us who has had the most complex life. She is a recovering alcoholic, 1 year sober this month. She also has three kids, ages 10, 4, and 3. She's lost primary custody of her children because she attempted, and nearly succeeded at, suicide last June. Her ex is abusive (go figure) and is not someone she can be around safely. She is currently unemployed, though about to start college again to obtain a degree in something that will enable her to make some kind of a decent living for herself, and, hopefully, regain primary physical custody. In the meantime, though, she's riding the Greyhound up here tomorrow, about a 10 hour drive or a bit longer, I think. She arrives at 11pm, so I will have to go down to pick her up. Then, she and I will travel up to a midway point between my place and his (about 300 miles or so) to pick up the children from her friend, who happens to be the one he gets to keep the kids all the time. Then, we'll turn around and drive back to my house, where they'll stay for the week, I guess.

Don't get me wrong -- just seeing the children is well worth it -- but this will be the first time I've seen my sister since her sobriety began. I will have to sanitize the house, for MY sake, not hers. Then I will need to childproof. And then go buy groceries for them, and the list goes on.

But on the other hand, my little sister could have succeeded in taking herself permanently out of the picture last year, so I'm trying to view this all with gratitude for having the opportunity to do this for her, and for me.

Tell the people you love how you feel, as often as you have the opportunity. Tomorrow is in no way guaranteed.