Lost Opportunity

This post is my response to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabet Thursday challenge for the letter “L”.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lost…such a lonely, desolate word. It can, of course, be trivial as in, “I’ve lost my keys” or, in this case, significantly more important.

My next younger sister, just one day shy of her __th birthday, had a severe stroke that paralyzed one side of her body and left her unable to speak. Over the next couple of weeks there was some improvement in her condition and then, suddenly, other complications developed. Almost before we knew it, she was gone.

You would think that two sisters, only 2-1/2 years apart in age, would be best friends, but it was never that way for us. I’ve always been fairly easy-going and adventurous, dealing equably with opportunities, challenges, or disappointments as they came my way. Even as a young child, sister saved most of her birthday and Christmas presents in their original boxes, almost as if she wasn’t entitled to enjoy them. She held onto grudges in the same way, as if she would be somehow diminished if she forgave the injury.

As we grew older, we had differences that hardened into estrangement. We hadn’t spoken in more than five years and our most recent conversations were anything but pleasant. I would have been happy to reconcile but, as far as I can tell, she was unwilling. I live 2/3 of the country away from our hometown and haven’t been back there in the five-plus years since our falling out—there just didn’t seem to be much point in going since she probably wouldn’t even open the door to me. Now I’m home for her funeral.

She didn’t reply to e-mails and wouldn’t answer the phone (caller ID…) so the only contact I’ve had with her over these last years is when I sent birthday and Christmas cards. I put a note in each one letting her know I was ready to mend our differences, but there was never any response from her.

Where does that leave me? I’m angry. With her for being so stubborn and with myself for not figuring out a way to mend our relationship. And I am so very sorry that we couldn’t figure out a way to make the most of our unique relationship rather than squandering it.

Such an unnecessarily lost opportunity.

8 thoughts on “Lost Opportunity

  1. Wow…I’m so sorry. I am estranged from my brother and I have a feeling that this will happen to us. All one can do is leave the door open for the other to walk through if they so choose. Unfortunately some choose not to….


  2. Wanda, what a touching post. My heart hurts for you. You can’t make someone be close to you, no matter how close the relationship COULD be.

    It sounds like you have made a heroic effort to remain close…it’s sad and such a waste when things aren’t mutual.

    If you can, try to forgive your sister for the pain she has caused you. It’s hard moving on, but you seem like a lovely, caring and compassionate person. Even people with the strongest will cannot make others change.

    I’m sorry for your pain.

    Hugs, hope and healing.



  3. Wanda, my sister died 3 years ago, and we were also estranged. She had leukemia. I did not learn of her illness until she was already in a coma, because she had threatened family members that I was not to be told. She was like that–very angry, very vicious. Wanda, you have to realize that some fences just cannot be mended. Stop beating yourself up and go on with your life. Don’t let yourself become a victim of your sister’s rage.

  4. I can hear your anger, sadness and regret, Wanda – and am sorry there was not a way of making the relationship different. Hoping too you can let yourself off the hook a little for, alas, we cannot control or determine what others do, and they make their own choices … Thinking of you.

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