Background: you've heard me mention my sister over the years. The last few years was the most positive time of her life, she finally found love. She was married for the third time for six years to an active, loving, giving, fun guy and it was by far the best relationship of her life. She became a happy person, a nice person for the first time in her life, and that's saying something! But his health declined and last February he passed away in his sleep.
She had met him on Match a month after her second husband passed away. She's not one to let grass grow under her feet, and she joined again soon after he died. But she found, as I did, that there's nobody much out there past a certain age, and that was a disappointment to her. And then the pandemic hit, and she was not able to go anywhere or do anything and she quickly reverted to the miserable, nasty, sometimes evil person she'd been before.
Now you may think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. Over the years she has done some really terrible things to one and all. I'm not the only one. Her own child has been victimized in many ways, and I won't go into the what, why and wherefore, but she is lucky my niece is as good to her today as she is. My sister has always been selfish and unconcerned with the feelings and welfare of others, and that includes me, big-time.
There are so many incidents I couldn't begin to relate them all, any time you deal with her something happens, but one of the worst is the time Mike and I were invited to accompany her, her husband, and my niece on a car trip to Mexico. The kids were young and after being couped up in the car for several days they started to fight. So she yelled she wished Mike dead, kicked us out and left me stranded with 9-year-old Mike 1500 miles below the border in a town I never heard of before, to make my way home on my own. Then she lied about it to my mother saying it was I who chose to leave. I didn't speak to her for six months and only did again because of my mother's constant begging.
It's been 10 years, and she never asks about Mike. Says it makes her upset, so she won't deal with it. And she said something very cruel to me a few months ago when I told her what my care-giving routine was like and how difficult it was for me to see him decline. This is what she said: "So what do you want, a medal?" I thought about not speaking to her anymore, in fact I seriously discussed it with a psychologist friend of mine, but decided at this stage of the game, and for all I have to do with her, it didn't matter. I thoroughly know who she is, and that for her that remark is par for the course. So I let it go by.
Now here's the kicker: For the past 30 years we've had differing opinions on Dr. Laura Schlesinger, the radio program psychologist. Any time she was brought up in reference to a problem we'd both heard about on the air, my sister would absolutely love her rude, hurtful, attitude toward the troubled callers, and I would shudder and wonder how she ever got a license to practice. I hoped the callers wouldn't go out and commit suicide after being humiliated and worse on the air by Dr. Laura. It was indicative of our very different personalities. She was like Dr. Laura, in-your-face, mean, rude, sparing no one's feelings as she went.
OK. So here we are in 2020, and I read on Facebook that Dr. Laura has insulted and humiliated a caller who has called in for advice about a painful situation concerning her adoption. There must have been 100 responses, 99 of them appalled at the way the troubled caller was treated, even to the point of foul language being used.
My sister and I had often discussed Dr. Laura and her callers in the past, so I cut and pasted the responses and emailed them to her telling her to read what Dr. Laura had said now, and what the public thought about it.
The next day I heard from my niece. Her attitude was bristly. She wanted to know why I had sent that email of FB responses about Dr. Laura to her mother. I thought that was odd, and odder still that my niece was the one who asked, she and I had never talked about Laura, it was my sister with whom I'd talk. I told her I thought the subject and the responses were interesting and everyone thought that Laura was awful. My niece was testy, saying every one is entitled to their own opinion. Of course. But I knew then that my sister had probably told my niece something bad about me sending the email, and that she was having my niece speak for her.
It is now about 2 months since I sent the email. I have not heard from my sister. She knows the terribly difficult conditions that we are living with as my niece is in touch with my daughters every day. My sister knows that during these two months my daughter has had 5 chemo sessions that have made her feel very ill, that she is on loads of meds for every symptom, so is Mike, and that we can hardly keep up with the care of our two needy patients. We are working 18 hours a day. We're getting very little sleep, trying to figure out what needs to be done next (even meals and the like). We need to shop and cook. We need to keep the house up and make sure there are clean linens and clean clothes for doctors' appointments. We are emotionally involved as well, this is my son and daughter.
But I hear nothing from my sister. The real important thing for her is that I sent her an email showing the public's concern that Dr. Laura Schlesinger's advice to radio callers is seen negatively.
I think I have let enough go over the years, in word and in deed, and even recently when I forgave her sarcastic, unfeeling insult asking me if I "wanted a medal." That was terrible, everyone who hears about it just shakes their heads. But I think it's ironic that for all the cruel things I forgave, she is the one who has stopped talking to me because I sent an email that showed her heroine, St. Laura, in an unflattering light.
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