After your death our family went through a series of crises. The big one for you would be Mom's stroke. That has been hard on the family, as she is now home but not capable of any relationships as the stroke affected a large area in her brain. Where you are now, these things probably seem very worldly or earthly. With my tendency to digress, this letter today is all about you...and me.
I've never processed your death. That week I had to be there for Mom and Dad. I was in the middle of fighting for custody of my oldest and then it seemed like life threw one thing after another at us. I cried the morning you died, but have rarely been able to express any emotion since then...and as you know I tend to be emotional.
I want you to know how loved you were. A bunch of people came from Chicago and several of your KC friends came as well. The love and support was tremendous. I think your death hit Dad the hardest, while I know you would never wish him any pain, that should tell you how much he really loved you. To this day, the night you died is the only time I have ever seen him cry. He practiced CPR on you for a long time.
For my own healing one thing I have to talk about is our last conversation. I know how much pain and anger you were feeling when they wouldn't admit you. That evening I had very little information yet but I stopped by to see you after work. When I came in and asked how you were doing you yelled at me, told me to F off and slammed your door. I tried to call later that night but you were sleeping. What you said in theory doesn't bother me. Intellectually I understand that's not how you felt about me, I know you were in pain and angry that the hospital wouldn't admit you. It's still not the last conversation either of us would want to have. But it was.
The year before your death we began to drift apart. That was hard for me and you as well I am sure. I didn't know yet that your sleep apnea was so severe. I couldn't relate to your inability to get out of bed. Yet...My whole life you had been one of my biggest fans. I remember how you would style my hair for me before a date in High School, pick out my clothes as well :-). I could tell you anything and know you would still love me but more importantly you would speak the truth to me. I'm dealing with a lot right now but that's not the purpose of this letter and who knows...maybe God will let ya sneak a peek at my blog ;-)
Growing up was rough on us. We went through some real crazy stuff. It created a bond that superseded brother/sister. You were one of my best friends. Our whole lives people would notice how close we were, how much time we would spend together. When I got married the amount of time changed but not the closeness. The fact you loved my wife was of utmost importance to me. I remember the day before I drove Michele to Chicago to propose I showed you the engagement ring. The way your face lit up, how excited you were for me, that's what I remember.
I'm taking some time for me now. Looking back over my life has been hard. Remembering our last conversation has been part of that. Part of me letting go is letting you know I don't choose to remember that as any part of what you really meant to me and vice versa. It was nothing more than an unfortunate conversation to be the last one but it holds no merit of it's own and does not define us.
When you died I wanted to blame you. Part of my own disorder is this need to assign responsibility. I was angry as you were leaving 2 daughters behind, one pregnant and one 3. I felt like you gave up. Mom made Dad file a lawsuit and the trial eventually happened in the summer of 2010. The trial was pretty cool, you would have enjoyed it. It was like a mini Law and Order episode. Sidebars, objections jury instructions, etc...
The outcome was a huge verdict in our favor. Dr. (You know who) was so arrogant at trial that the jury foreman told us it was a factor. His attorney was your attorney's replacement at the hospital and he had no business not settling out of court and that message was sent to him, doubt it registered though. We went all out, we had 2 experts from Harvard and they were able to explain to us and the jury why the Dr's were wrong. It was pretty powerful. But what mattered the most was it gave Dad and I some closure, him more than me. He still misses you though, he and I spend a lot of time together and he mentions you and how sad he is. How sad he is that you struggled so much with him. Lisa he has changed so much. He has developed a closer relationship with God in his retirement and you would have seen his strength in ways you had not over the next few years.
The trail really validated that you were not responsible for your own death. Hearing that made me feel so much better but also carried some guilt with it.
I miss you so much. I have had some real struggles since you died and I miss your advice, comfort and just acceptance and validation of what good things I had done in my life. I know I was there for you as well, I also know if roles were reversed and I had died you would miss me as much as I miss you.
I have to move on though. I let several of your friends know I was writing this, probably 10-12 people. I think you would be surprised by how many of your old friends miss you and have such love for you. One of the people who meant the most to you wrote me yesterday and said "Lisa would want you to let go of the pain and have you remember the good times." It was so powerful to read, and I know it's true.
Letting go is so hard for me. It hits all of my abandonment issues. But it also means accepting you are gone. It also means I must go on. Letting go does NOT mean forgetting you, feeling sad sometimes and hoping to see you again. You will never be far from me. At your funeral we played "I'll be Missing you" by Puff Daddy. The suddenness and shock was really hard for us. There are other songs that will always make me think of you. But I want to end with some hope and comfort.
As I say good bye and let you go I do believe we will met again and this song is one that always comforts me when I feel down
Goodbye Lisa. If I could have said one last thing to you I would have said "I love you" "I miss you" and I can only imagine the day I see you again