Date Published: November 20, 2020
Publisher: Blue Fortune Enterprises, Lavender Press
This heartfelt story about sisters, family and the tenuous connections we forge in life will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
Rose was a child when the worst possible thing happened-her sister Lily drowned. While Rose was supposed to be watching her. From that moment, Rose knew it was all her fault. After all, that’s what her mother told her. But life must go on, no matter what, and Rose and her sister, Ivy, grow up in a family without their little sister. In a family where alcoholism and arguing defines their parents. In a family that personifies dysfunction. In a family where anger forces their brother away. Was it any wonder that Rose was so excited to get to college? Was it any wonder she sometimes had a date with Mr. Merlot, the wine bottle she hid to help her get through life’s tougher moments?
At times whimsical, always genuine, this story looks at the bonds of sisters and how family can become our foundation even when we don’t expect it.
I am a fraud.
My sister thinks I’m brilliant. My patients, since they keep coming back, must think I am at least minimally competent.
I listen to my patients, day in and day out, year in and year out, until I want to scream, “What the hell is the matter with you? What is the point of coming to see me if you won’t take any of my advice and try to change? I have said to you a million times: let go, move on! The past is the past, and you can’t change it. No matter how many times you talk about it, nothing is going to change. You have vented. Now get over it. You have to learn from your mistakes, live what’s left of your life, and hope you don’t make the same mistakes again.”
But I don’t scream at them. I don’t even tell them what to do. I make suggestions. I nod and make comforting sounds and occasionally say, “Tell me more.” Or I ask, “And how did that make you feel?” and nod again while they answer.
They are not fixable. Maybe none of us are fixable. I laugh, because I can’t even take my own advice.
The past is the past.
I say these words each day, still I’m unable to apply them to myself. I am stuck just as much as they are. I studied psychology with some hope of helping myself. It hasn’t worked. I have accepted I will never be “fixed.”
I’m not sure why no one in my family has ever noticed how messed up I am. I guess because, like all of us, they have their own problems and I seem so “together” in comparison. Also, they are totally self-absorbed and call me to talk about themselves and their problems, not to ask about mine.
When I say they, I am really only talking about my sister Ivy. She’s the only family member I really talk to. Other than my Mom, the rest of the family is gone now. I call my Mom weekly out of a sense of duty, which is crap because she never seemed to feel a sense of duty to me. And we talk about the weather or Ivy. She doesn’t seem to think there is anything interesting in my life to talk about. Which is true.
Unlike Ivy, with her numerous relationships, I haven’t had any apparent emotional upheavals in my life. I haven’t had any breakdowns or screaming fits or even numerous failed relationships. Did they not ever wonder why there were no failed relationships? Actually, no relationships at all? Does my lack of a love life not raise any questions?
I assume it’s because they think I am married to my work. I am not married to my work. As I said, I became a therapist for the sole purpose of fixing myself, which has not worked as planned. I haven’t been able to take my own basic advice, which is move on. The past is the past. It can’t be changed. Let it go.
My life pretty much ended, or at least failed to progress, when I was six years old. That was when my little baby sister, Lily, drowned. She drowned because none of us were paying any attention to her.
Patti is a former army brat who lived all over the world before settling in the rural community of Gloucester, Virginia with her husband, Greg. There they raised three daughters and numerous cats and dogs.
After retiring from working at two area history museums Patti finally had time to do the things she always wanted to, including writing. Moving constantly made it difficult to make friends and form lasting relationships. Her writing is about emotional connections, friendship and family.
In addition to writing, Patti fills her days with rescuing raptors and other birds, and researching her family’s past on Ancestry. She and Greg also love to travel and have been busy checking off their bucket list.