My sister-in-law, Maria, died yesterday. It's odd to start the new year with a Goodbye.
Maria was a little over a year older than me and she was a blast. I will always remember her high energy level and sassiness. There was a period of time, after I had left El Paso, that she was hanging out with my best friend, Ted and I had to stop him from telling me about their wild adventures together. I didn't want to know. All I know, for sure, is they weren't hanging out watching Golden Girls. She was always nice to me and the first in my family to guess that I was gay. She made me feel like it didn't matter. I always appreciated that. I saw even less of her and my brother after they left El Paso for San Antonio. I never went to visit, because I thought seeing them at holiday family gatherings was fine. I never saw her after she left my brother a few years ago.
I can't exactly say what happened between them, I just know that my brother was hurt very much by the break up. Since the break up, I had only spoken with her on the phone for a few minutes and those friendly calls always ended with a bit of wackiness. I didn't think much about Maria over the last few years, I just assumed that she was happily living the new life she left my brother for. Then, a few days before Christmas, I got a text from my sister saying that Maria was in dire condition and in desperate need of a liver. I was a little surprised by the part of the text that said that she was with my brother and he was taking care of her. It wasn't astonishing, since she was the mother of his two sons. It is heart wrenching, yet hopeful, for this woman, who had hurt him so badly, to come back in a desperate state and have him take her in and care for her. Sadly, she did not get the liver she needed and she died. I am a little mollified knowing that she was not alone in those final moments. It's good to get confirmation that it's literally never too late to return to the ones you love, even if you have hurt them and have them take you in. If you are someone who is worried about dying alone because you feel you've hurt someone too much, take a chance and reach out. You may be surprised. I realize dying alone with me may not be enough for some...
5/20/1966 - 1/1/2016