Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Bad Seeds

I have written a lot about my younger sister over the last few years. Some of it I have shared in other places and some I have kept private. She is so much on my mind right now that I wanted to share some of the things I have written in the hopes that you would be encouraged to remember her and pray for her. I can post these since she refuses to read my blog out of protest. Although, I would post worse things about her if she did read my blog because that's my job as the bigger sister, to harrass, annoy and bug the snot out of her. I am very good at my job.

Kelly is my 48 year old little sister. Isn't it funny how even at her age I still see her in two long braids with a big toothy grin whenever I look at her. She will always be that skinny legged blond child in my mind just as my own babies remain "my babies" even as they enter their thirties. I am only three years older than Kel however I feel very motherly towards her sometimes. I always have in many ways and the years have brought it out even stronger in me.

Kelly and I have led very different lives just about from the start. As a child, I was always so self-conscious and unsure of who I was. I could be painfully shy and even worse, moody. Kelly, on the other hand was outgoing and so sure she was loved. She went through life not only knowing she was loved by family and friends but she just assumed she was loved by the world. After all, she was the darling chubby cheeked baby of the Casas family. What was there not to love?

I married young and quickly filled our lives with family. My world consisted of family. My husband, my birth children, my adopted children, foster children, church family, exchange students, neighborhood elderly, any and all that passed our door who were in need. These became our family. Kelly married in her twenties but her love, her life, her "family" was her career. She seemed to instinctively understand Corporate America and how to win. She thrived, excelled, advanced and prospered. I gave everything I had to others. So did she. We just did it in different worlds and in different ways. Sometimes I envied her life. She always seemed happy, fulfilled, ready to have fun. She had time and money. I went through those years feeling tired, stressed, financially strapped, wondering if I was even a good wife, good mother, good daughter, good anything.

In our thirties we each had our own breakdowns and breakthroughs. I emotionally broke down and started therapy. I began to deal with the childhood issues that had choked the inner life out of me for so many years. I took responsibility for my part in allowing others to dictate who I was. I stepped up and stood up and moved forward as much as I knew how. During that same time, Kelly's marriage came undone. My mother turned on her and Kel's world came apart. She knew love and success. She was the family shining star. She didn't know how to deal with being a disappointment to our mother, her sisters or herself. Life got very difficult for us all. Our "perfect" family was coming unraveled and revealing truths we did not want to see.

In the midst of all of this Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor, a benign Mengionoma. She would face five surgeries over the next nine years. In October 2006, she was diagnosed with cancer in various parts of her body. There was a 1% chance her brain tumor would spread throughout her body and become cancerous and it had happened. During 2007, I went out to stay with my sister and her new husband about six times. I tried to stay at least two weeks each time. I didn’t do much while I was there really. I was just a mother. I cooked, cleaned and listened. I talked about the past and made Kelly laugh. I hugged her when she cried and teased her when she was morbid. When she was grumpy or not feeling well I sat with her and watched movies.

One of our favorite things to do together when we were kids was watch scary movies. As we got older we would call one another whenever "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" or "The Bad Seed" would come on late at night. We would laugh and talk about how scared we were as kids watching those movies. The best part about the movie "The Bad Seed" was that the evil little girl named Rhoda looked exactly like Kelly when she was little right down to the braids and dresses. How I miss those days!

Kelly never had children of her own or so she thinks. My seven children and six grandchildren adore Auntie Kelly. She is a crucial part of their lives. She is loved and adored by them all. To them she is not her cancer. She is outgoing and fun, the life of every party. She is the one that listens to them and has the answers they want to hear. She is young. She is one of them. She is a mother.

Yes, I believe we are both good wives, good mothers, good daughters, good women. We are not really very different after all. We might have looked like Bad Seeds here and there along the way but the fruit of our lives has turned out to be pretty satisfying and fulfilling.

Kelly and I use to speak on the phone every day and see one another a lot through the year. Things have changed lately. We talk rarely and haven’t seen one another since last June. Maybe a scary movie will come on soon and reignite what use to be. It could happen.


Nicole said...

So I can't be witty now. Your posts usually give me that opportunity.

I know the relationship you have shared with your sister. And I witnessed the drive, determination, and passion that she had for her career. I did work for her for many years, and credit her success for helping me achieve my own.

More than anything I always admired the relationship Kelly had with your parents and family. You could tell that she brought so much joy. I couldn't really understand the concept of bringing joy to your family, since I never really seemed to bring much of it (disappointment and constant criticism is what comes to my mind). The beauty of this though was that through her being a daughter and a sister and an aunt (I really remember at the time how close she was to Matt and Zach), I learned alot about the mother that I wanted to be when I had my children. Her world helped shape the new family that I created. I'm so thankful for that. And she probably doesn't even realize it.

The day she found out she had her brain tumor, was the day I was picking my future husband up at the airport in LAX so he could meet my parents, before I left the next day to embark on a whole new life in Boston. It was a very emotional time.

I email and call her often. I don't hear back. I keep thinking she's tired and it's selfish to ask her to call me back or email me back in order for me to feel better. But I miss her unbelievably. I have asked to visit, and she has refused. We were within a 30 min drive of her home last June and she just said she wasn't ready for company. My husband said I should just go, just show up. But I wanted to respect her need for privacy, but at the same time I wanted to show her how much she means to me. And it has nothing to do with the fact that she has cancer. She forever changed my world.

I am very stingy with friendship and I don't open up to people often. It's just who I am. I'm guarded. I like to stay protected. Her friendship means the world to me. And I just miss her so much.

I guess we just have to hope that she knows how much she is loved...


Pearl said...

YOu're a good sister.

Call her.


p.s. Nicely written. Glad I stopped by.

The Lumberjack's Wife said...

My sister and I are also like night and day. We are four years apart. We drift in and out of closeness, and thankfully, we are close right now.

Diane said...

I hope it happens... xo

Lily Robinson said...

So make it happen. What are you waiting for?

Libbie said...

Marla how did I not know you raised 7 kids! I don't know how that slipped by me....okay YOU ARE amazing...I already thought so but now I KNOW so!

I will for sure pray for your sis. You know I love mine & I understand how deep that love goes. It often amazes me how different we can be from our sisters.

I gotta run-baby waking & crying in the middle of the night thing but thanks for sharing this!

dianna said...

I will be praying for you all about this, and Marla, Kelly knows, she knows all about you and your ways, so just pick any movie these days, she's is probably waiting.

honeypiehorse said...

When you feel despair it's so hard to reach out or be reached out to.

Sonya said...

oh gosh, buy a bunch of scary movies and go and visit her!!! buy a ton of junk food on the way and just show'll be glad you did.

Mama Zen said...

This is beautiful. Just beautiful. You and your sister are in my prayers.

Parsley said...

Sweetheart, just have no regrets. I'm sure you have things to be bitter over and perhaps she does as well. Nothing..NOTHING is more important right now than clearing the air. Put yourself out there. If she accepts your offer, great. If not, the burden is on her to take the next step. God will guide. Just ask Him.

A thought how to break the ice...send her flowers or a cookie bouquet. Then..send yourself some. You deserve it!

I don't have a sister...wanna volunteer?

Marla said...

Nicole ~ Thank you for this beautiful comment. I think you and I could have been friends in another life. Or I could have been your maid at the least. One last thing...You should listen to your husband.

Pearl ~ Thank you and thanks for stopping by.

Lumberjack Wife ~ That's what makes it interesting, right?

Diane ~ Me too

Lily ~ Who knows?

Libbie ~ Thank you for your prayers. I truly appreciate them.

Dianna ~ Thanks sister girlfriend

honeypiehorse ~ I can only imagine

Sonya ~ Ya never know, I just might

Mama Zen ~ Thank you

Marla said...

Deena ~ Thanks! Before you ask for a volunteer you might better talk to my sisters. They can fill you in on what you'd be getting yourself in for. :-)

Oklahoma Granny said...

You and your sister are in my prayers.

justsomethoughts... said...

got the chills
and they stayed there

very very good

i'm sure you dont need me to add to all the calls for your calling her

you're a wonderful human being
you'll do the right thing
whatever it is

Sarah said...

she will come around. you two share such a strong bond. god bless her, and you.

Lorenza said...

Hi Marla how is she feeling now? I have gone through the same experience, only 2 years ago, and can understand very well. My life turned into a real life and I am grateful for it. I wish you lots of scary movies together! Why don't you run away for a week end with her?


MindyBB said...

So knowing you, Kel had to be the one who would poke a dog with a tack or was it a nail I can't believe I ever watched that... you should send those movies to her and a childhood picture taped right next to Rhoda's face... love you!

LOL, confirmation "meanstic"

gayle said...

I am a pretty new follower so I really don't know to much about what is going on but I am wondering why you don't just go see her or call she not taking calls or visits
When people are really depressed they sometimes shut others out.

Marla said...

Ok Granny ~ You are wonderful

justsomethoughts ~ We can only hope

Sarah ~ I hope her health comes around more than anything

Lorenza ~ She is having a tough time of it, I'm afraid. Good idea though

Mindy ~ Meanstic ....coincidence? I think not! ROFL

gayle ~ My sister is very ill and not really wanting calls and visitors. We also live 1700 miles apart. It's complicated like sister stuff usually is. :-)

Amarja said...

Marla you know what to do! You know what the right thing is. Listen to your heard, God is talking to you!

Love you lots,
The Dutch daughter

Marla said...

Amarja ~ When did you get so smart? :-) Love you, little Dutch daughter!