Last week, my brother A's girlfriend's sister passed away. (You got that? Confusing, I know.) Now, you know that I've mentioned before that my brother and I are kind of distant now, we don't communicate and I'm assuming that since the only details of his life I get are through various postings on Facebook and random reports from my other family members, that he is getting about the same amount of info about me.
Up until Christmas, when one of my sisters mentioned to me the reason for A's absence from our own family's Xmas celebrations was that he wanted to spend it with his girlfriend and her sister, who was "having a hard time" (meaning she was depressed and as I was told, suffering from an eating disorder), I had no idea his girlfriend even had a sister. So that's how much I know about his life. I have met his girlfriend a handful of times and we have talked, I just didn't remember any mention of a sister.
So when my dad called me last weekend to let me know about this poor girl's passing (yes, she committed suicide), I was kind of like, ooohhkaaaaayy...I felt awkward. I didn't really know what to say. I've never met the girl, and didn't really know of her existence. Of course, as a human, a mom and a sister myself, I was very sorry for her family and those she left behind that loved her. But I felt nothing more than I would have if I had read about a random stranger's death in a newspaper.
As A's girlfriend M is one of my "friends" on FB, I could see updates she posted about details of the remembrance ceremony and visitation and such, so I knew that they were having it this Friday. I was also able to send her a private email expressing my condolences to her and her family. **
Yesterday my sister N called me to let me know that she, sister S, Mom and Dad were all going to attend the funeral. At first I wasn't sure why she called to tell me that, but as we talked, I realized that she was thinking of my feelings and wanted to make sure that I didn't feel left out of the loop. Isn't that sweet? What a great sister she is! Of course, I don't feel that way, as they had met the deceased and her parents and I hadn't, and they also all have more of a relationship with my brother than I do, so going to the funeral hadn't even begun to cross my mind. My family was going to be there for A, which was nice, but even then I was still confused as to why. Yes, it made sense for my mom to go, even my dad, but I really couldn't see why my sisters were going. It was then that N told me that A and the girl were very close. He had considered her a little sister to him, and I had no idea!! So he is probably way more upset by this then I had originally assumed (which wasn't nice of me to assume how bereaved a person is anyway, I know.)
But after I had hung up with N, and had some time to absorb the conversation, I started to feel a little sad. Not sad that they were all going to something without me, not sad that a precious life had been taken, just sad that our relationship has become so distant that I didn't even know my brother had lost someone very close to his heart.
So I bought a sympathy card and sent it this morning. I'm very sorry for his loss, but I'm also sorry for ours, mine and his. We appear to be siblings in name only now.
**I didn't want to interrupt my thought flow, but as an aside, I wanted to write that I was appalled at people's etiquette regarding sending out condolences. I assume this is the way of the world now, but sometimes it is still appalling. I myself probably should have sent a card to M and her family, but truly, I don't know them at all and I've only met M. So I felt in the name of saving paper and in keeping up with today's ways, I would send her an email instead of a card. It was still private and personal, it just didn't come on paper. But there were countless people that posted their sympathies on Facebook. Right on the wall, complete with textspeak and emoticons!! UNBELIEVABLE! I honestly couldn't fathom how lazy and just rude it was to tell someone you are sorry for their loss like this: Hrd about ur sister, hope u guyz r ok. :( Can people not even be bothered to take two extra seconds out of their day to write out the full words?? Is M's sorrow not worth their precious time? And emoticons? Try using words to tell someone how you feel people!!