I apologize for my extended absence. Many of you know that my sister passed away somewhat unexpectedly at the beginning of June. Her death was a shock to the system, but not so much a surprise, as we knew, at some point, we would get that call. I struggle right now to even really know what to say or how to explain the situation, I even struggle in coming to grips with the reality and enormity of having lost my only sibling. I feel like anything I say in pure honesty is also muddy-ing her name. I don't want to do this in any way, so I have found myself not really saying much of anything except to those who knew her and the situation and those I'm closest to.
In trying to process all of the emotions that go with this territory, I find myself crying at times when everyone else is laughing, laughing at times when everyone around me is crying and having no visceral emotion during times that I should be raw with feeling. I had the admittedly ego-centric realization last week that the God I praise loves my sister and others with addictions, mental illness and other painful conditions and diseases every last bit as much as He loves those who are living for Him. (ouch!) There is, of course, benefit and joy in living how we try to live here on the (Funny) Farm, but in the past several weeks, it has become painfully obvious to me that our works are for us. Yes, God cares about what we do, but our "stuff" - the gardens, the animals, the homeschooling, the gentle parenting... I think they all Glorify God and are Good, but our thoughts being mindful that He loves EVERYONE is what has brought comfort in the difficult times since Sarah's death. Her life mattered. She was a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a mother, and a friend. The words that I heard from others at her memorial service were heart-warming reminders that she was good. She hurt those who were closest to her because we were the safe ones to do that to. She was helpful and overwhelmingly kind to others around her. In the early days after her death, this was not much of a consolation to me. Because, in true sister fashion, I can admit loudly that she was rotten to me almost all of the time, but I love her still to the core of my soul. Now, after almost 7 weeks since she died, I can say that I'm so grateful to have heard these positive stories. I'm glad that people remember her kindly. I don't want others to remember my sister with the memories that I have from the past 15 years or so since mental illness took over her personality and life. The truth is that as much as I can say right at this moment that I miss my sister, I could have just as easily said "I miss my sister." at any point in the past 15 years.
So... in the past week, life has been getting back to normal-ish around here. A friend pointed out that "normal" was probably the wrong word choice... she's probably right. Last week, we went back home and visited a friend, went camping, had friends over for dinner and had family over for a visit. Talk about jumping right back into normal-ish!
A major change here at the (Funny) Farm, I made the decision to sell the goats. I felt the major need to simplify and was feeling tied down by having to milk twice a day... I hoped it wasn't too rash a decision - I do tend to make emotional decisions that are not the best choices in times of turmoil... but it turns out that I think it was a good choice. The very short haircut, however.... well, I've been wanting to start dreadlocks for quite some time now, and I thought that the short haircut might have been a wiser emotional choice that dreading my hair. Not that I'm not still considering doing so, but that is not a choice to be made when upset. Not that I should even let anyone touch my hair....
So, emotional decisions, back to normal-ish, normal grief stuff, heat - it is so unholy hot outside right now - we're confined to the house - not fun- feeling the stir crazies already! Life moves ahead. I'm thankful for life moving ahead. I'm thankful for my family, my church family, my friends.
If it isn't too strange to say, I'm trying to find the good in this sad time. I was deeply in the web of addiction and mental illness and codependency with my sister. I was an enabler. I did realize this well before she died and made enormous strides in breaking away from that unhealthy relationship. I succeeded in doing so about a year and a half before her death. I know that doing so has helped me get through this in a much healthier manner than if I had still been in the codependent relationship. I am seeing the end of drama in my life. The end of all things revolving around a very unhealthy family member, the end of drama just for drama's sake. This has been a positive for me and my grieving process. I am at a place now where I can say that I hate what Sarah did to me, but I love my sister so deeply that it hurts. I miss you, Boo. We all love you so very much. I know you are healthy and whole now. I know your body is healed in a way that it never was here. Your physical pain is gone. Your emotional scars are healed. You have a deep peace that you could never quite achieve here. You are so loved and so missed.
In Loving Memory Of
Sarah Melissa Hansen
June 24, 1977 - June 2, 2011