My sister died 7 years ago this past August.
She was 48 years old at the time.
A strange and barely known infectious type of bacteria entered her brain in January and put her in a vegetative state that left her on life support for 8 hellatious months.
We battled with her estranged and drug addicted spouse to follow her wishes of no life support and to let stand the power of attorney which her son was executor of.
Her spouse was out of his mind with grief and out of his mind due to his pain medication addiction.
He was estranged from my sister and all 3 of their kids at the time of her illness.
Her becoming sick brought him back into their lives in the absolute worst way.
At the hospital he was combative with Drs. and care givers and nurses.
He threatened to sue the hospital at every change in her condition-whether good or bad.
It was that and more.
I'll spare you the gruesome details but her eventual death by removing all care except comfort, devastated me and my 2 remaining sisters.
And it's a pain that doesn't go away.
Part of my childhood died when she did.
I lost a best friend and the keeper of my secrets.
Two weeks ago the proper authorities caught up with her estranged husband.
He'd been living in their house for the last 7 years without paying the mortgage.
He phoned my brother in law to let him know that if we wanted anything of hers
that it would be on the curb August 25th.
He was moving to a studio apartment and could no longer keep everything he had amassed since her death.
He spent her life insurance on shit from Ebay or on clearance items found at Menard's.
We found 8 ladders that were $8.00 a piece that he said he was gonna put on Ebay for $20 each.
Blow dryers...plural, 75 bars of soap, pool supplies (no pool), Halloween decor,
a heated towel rack, Christmas decorations galore that he had then individually wrapped in bubble wrap and then wound clear packing tape around that (5 full totes of this).
20 pieces of luggage with the tags still on...a closeout deal from Kmart.
Amidst all of this and more we found her Midge doll and her Barbie from 1969.
We found her baby dolls and a chair we had used as children.
We found her clothes that he had washed, dried, folded and then placed in Space bags that were too heavy for us to lift.
We found my deceased father's tackle box and lures that he had swiped from my mom's garage and denied that he had.
That and so much more...it could have been an episode of Hoarder's.
We just wanted the sentimental stuff...the Barbie's and the dolls and that chair but we had to dig through a mountain full of crap to find anything.
He was awful while we were there...he wanted to let nothing go...wanted money for the stuff we did want... the fucker!
I know he is ill....I know he has issues..medical, physical, spiritual, mental.
I know he is lonely...painfully so.
He has no wife, no kids, no home, no job, no friends, no future prospects.
Yet I hated him for what he had put my sister through.
I hated him for the condition of her house.
I hated him for not giving a rat's ass for her stuff.
It took eight of us two nights to go through that stuff...for 5 hours each night.
That first night when I got home, I drank 4 glasses of wine whilst bawling on the phone with my other sister...and I cried until I passed out.
In the morning I told myself that I. Was. Not. Going. Back. to that house anymore.
But I did. And that's when we found her dolls and her childhood mementos that he didn't give a shit about in a corner of the basement.
So while he loaded his truck with AM/FM radios and VHS machines that he had purchased at Circuit City's close-out sale, we loaded up the last of our sister's childhood toys.
Walking to my car I passed her rock garden and stopped to pick up a few stones for my garden.
It was well past dark so I couldn't get a good look at them.
I thought to myself that it didn't really matter what they looked like, I just wanted something from her garden to be in my own.
When I got home I looked at the rocks that I had picked from her garden in the dark of night.
The first was a round boulder...about the size of a cantaloupe.
The second was a rust colored triangle about the size of a sandwich cut in half.
And this was the third....
Forgiveness is so hard, isn't it?
It is something I battle with in my life, a lot!
I find it so hard to forgive people who have hurt me.
I also find it hard to forgive my own self for stuff that I have said and done.
Every time I look at this rock it reminds me of love.
The love I had for my sister.
The love that she had for her garden.
The love that she and him must of had at one time.
The love that Jesus says I should have for another human being.
Especially a human being who is so lost and broken and alone.
I've found myself praying for this husband of hers lately.
Praying that God would ease his suffering and give him some measure of comfort
...whatever that may be.
This heart rock sits by my computer and reminds me that love is all anybody really wants.
Even stupid, angry, sick, drug addicted, fucked up people need love.
I'm thinking it wasn't a coincidence that I picked up that rock in the dark.
So, maybe, if I can't love him just yet, maybe the least I could do is pray for him.
That's love Jesus style...loving the unlovable.