Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You Know Darn Well, I Am Not A Morning Person

Hey Kel,

I woke up at 5:27 am this morning thinking about your first brain surgery. Is there any way you could leave me alone for just one day? We both know the answer to that. When have you ever left me alone, dead or alive? Exactly!

I wonder if you remember things from here like your surgeries. I have read so much throughout the years regarding death and dying and you know I am a bible-thumper and yet, still so many questions. Maybe there just aren’t any answers this side of eternity. Who knows?

Sometimes I feel really bad because people say and write the nicest things to me about you being dead and my heart says, “How sweet”, but my head says, “Um…….are ya sure about that?” You know me though Kel, always the snarkiest shark in the tank. Someday I’ll change and be a sweet, demure, truly awesome human being. I know, makes me laugh too. Who are we kidding, right? Anyway, next time I hear you are at peace with the angels, I promise to do my best to believe it instead of picturing you arguing with the apostles over their lack of style and need for a personal trainer.

So, back to your first brain surgery. Can you believe it will be fifteen years this June? Seriously, how crazy is that? It still seems so fresh in my head, as if it was just a few years ago but then how could that be when I think back on all the gazillions of surgeries that followed. I remember so well the morning of. Do you remember me sitting in the back seat of your Jag, teaching myself to crochet as Ron drove us to Hogue Hospital? It was 5am and he was listening to Howard Stern and as usual, you two were arguing.

“Ron, turn that off. You know Marla hates Howard Stern.”

“Well, sorry Mar, I think he’s funny.”

“Ron, listen to Kelly before you end up in hell. What kind of Catholic are you anyway. Sheesh!”

Of course, Ron and I always thought we were so funny because, well, we are. You, on the other hand, were always annoyed with both of us, individually and as a tag team. Not shocking that you two ended up divorced. I was just always thankful you couldn’t divorce me because I am pretty sure papers would have been filed. You have to admit, Ron and I did make the six weeks I stayed with you memorable if nothing else.

I still have the card you wrote to me, thanking me for taking care of you. You handed it to me the morning Ron drove me to the airport. I still remember you crying, thanking me for being there and telling me not to open the card until I got home. Of course, as soon as I was on the plane, I opened it. I never told you this but I cried when I saw all the money. It was ridiculous how much cash was in that card. All I wanted was your voice. It made me sad that you thought you owed me anything else. I was your damn sister, not a hired caregiver. I didn’t know what to say then I thought about it and realized, you were just like dad. Giving cash and gifts was the way you showed love just like wiping butts and cleaning up puke was the way I showed mine. I had no cash to give and you had no butts you’d ever be willing to wipe so it all worked out the way it was suppose to, I guess. We both had our avenues we were comfortable traveling on.

It’s funny now to think about all the times we fought over stupid things. Like the way you never let me take care of you without buying me a thousand gifts. Now all I can think about is how there will be no more unexpected packages showing up at my door. No more things I don’t need but you need to give me. No more calling you to tell you to stop wasting your money. No more you telling me to get rid of the crap I have and have some style. No. More. You.

 Is there FedEx in heaven?

 I love you,





Friday, March 15, 2013

Holy Crap

Hey Kel,

So I got through my birthday without you. It wasn't easy but it was full of some amazing surprises. First, there was Bob showing up at my work to take me to lunch. I hadn't told anyone it was my birthday because I didn't want to have a birthday without you. So, I boycotted. Then Bob showed up, told everyone and they made me leave the store and go to lunch. Here's the amazing part. It was fun and I laughed. Not just ha ha laughing, laughing until I was in tears and not the miserable tears I have been crying. These were good tears.

We had just finished our wonderful meal and headed outside to the car. I noticed a store across the street had closed down and I mentioned to Bob that the guy who owned it was a real jerk. I told Bob some rather unsavory things this character had pulled on me and we agreed it wasn't too shocking for someone like that to not make it in the business world.

" Yeah, dude thought he was a balla."


"He thought he was a balla."

"Um.....honey, I have no idea what you're saying."

" A balla. Dude thought he was a balla."

"Ok, I am pretty sure you and I are running in completely different circles."

This is when I started laughing.

"No Marla, I mean it, I think it's time I got you out of here. How do you know this stuff?"

Then I went from laughing to hysterical laughing. Then we both were hysterically laughing and life was good for a moment.

Later, on my drive home, I did what has become the norm. I cried. I cried because I thought about how funny my conversation with Bob had been at lunch and how I would have definitely called you and we would have definitely laughed until we couldn't breathe over it. But you aren't there anymore. So I called Char and I told her my stupid story and we laughed and I felt another moment of hope.

Then tonight, the gift I was hoping for, praying for, longing for arrived. Words that sunk deep into my heart. Words from you. I believe it.

I opened my email tonight and there was a short sentence from my friend, Glen. It was in response to the foolishness I wrote last night about horse poop. It simply said;

"Has it occurred to you that you were a wild flower in the poop of Kel's life? "

When I read those words, I heard your voice and I could see your smiling face again. And I cried. Sad tears but not quite so sad. I cried because it had not occurred to me and suddenly, it was so clear. So I cried because even wildflowers need water now and then.

I miss you,


Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Horse With No Name

Hey Kel,

Tonight, as I was closing down the store, I mentioned to Ron that I was worried about tomorrow. I told him you always called me and sang to me. I stood there crying asking him, “How am I going to get through this with no phone call. She always called and sang.”

“Well, Marla….,” he said with that totally John Wayne twang of his, “just think about her purty singin to ya tomorrow.”

“I said she sang to me, Ron. I never said it was good.”

Then we both started to laugh and he reminded me to keep laughing. He told me to try and find the laughter in the middle of all this swirling pain. This made me think of horse poop.

Do you remember how I have always loved the smell of horse poop? It is one of the best smells on earth. It makes me think of Aunt Meta and the ranch, riding Pokey and playing outside all summer long. I absolutely love the stuff. I got to thinking tonight how this whole dead sister thing is such a pile of crap. Then I thought about what Ron said and about horse poop and well, maybe I am just focusing on the wrong type of crap, because I love horse poop and it’s definitely crap. Somehow though, I seem to be able to find wonderful things in it, like memories I cherish. Just the smell of it makes me smile or tear up with happy thoughts. I have even seen wildflowers sprouting from Dunnie’s poop. No seriously, sometimes when I am out walking with her in the back pasture, I have come across old piles of her poop with beautiful, delicate wildflowers coming straight out of the middle of them. How could anyone not love the stuff?

Do you think that’s possible? Could I find wildflowers in the pile you left my life in? If I ever stop crying for more than five minutes, I just might try to ride this new horse with no name.

Please come home now.

I love you,


Saturday, March 9, 2013

More Than Words

Hey Kel,

I have been purposely ignoring you for the last 9 days. You were making my life a living hell by being dead. So, I woke up on March 1st and made the decision to forget you. I told myself I could choose to not think about you. Choose to be happy you went on a long trip and I could live without you until you got back. Choose to stay so busy I wouldn’t have time for hot, angry tears. So, as of March 1st, you no longer existed and then I heard you laugh.

All freakin day, every day, for the last nine days, I have seen you, heard you, been reminded of you. I have dreamt about you repeatedly. When I laugh, I hear your laugh. When I look in the damn mirror, there is your nose looking back at me. Well, not actually your nose, it’s my eyes looking at my nose which is exactly the same as your nose which I always loved because we always said we had the best noses ever. Now I can’t even look at my stupid nose because of you. Thanks a lot, jerk face. And I ramble like just now. I can barely put three words together that make sense because all my energy is going towards ignoring you. You were impossible to ignore when you were alive. Now that you’re dead, you are unbearable when ignored. I seriously hate you sometimes. No, I don’t but I am seriously mad at you.  Well, maybe not seriously mad but…. Look what you’ve done to me. I’m a freakin mess!

The day after you died, I prayed you would have left me something. Not money, jewelry or things. I wanted words. I looked through your nightstand hoping to find a letter addressed to me but it wasn’t there. A few days later, when I was getting ready to head home, I made David promise he wouldn’t throw anything away. Not one single piece of paper. He was wonderful, as he looked at me knowing full well I was losing my mind, promising not one paper would leave that house until I got to look at it. You were always the most organized person I ever knew. Everything in its place, labeled, dated and filed. I still tell myself there is a file somewhere in that house with my name on it, full of letters from you just for me. Please.

Hey, your high school friend Zana wrote to me. How nice is that? You are going to love what she said.

“Thanks for sharing Marla. It was hard to ask about what was happening and always getting the everything is fine response. I felt so shut out. Of course I knew everything was not fine. Thanks for letting me in a little. It's so sad, so funny, so screwed up and so beautiful at the same time. Can't believe it's been 21 days already.”

Do you remember how you and I use to fight over this very thing? You never wanted to see anyone, talk to people, let people know the truth. You freaked if there was a picture taken of you in your wheelchair. And what did I always say?

“Kelly! People love you, stupid. They don’t care what you look like, how bad you feel, if you’re in a wheelchair, walker or paddy wagon. They just want you, idiot!”

You never believed me. We fought over this like two stray cats on a field mouse. Well, I was right and for once, you can’t argue with me. I thought winning an argument with you would feel better than this. My consolation is choosing to believe you now know I was right. So……Ha!

                                    Wish You Were Here,