Early last week I was going to write a purely positive post, but as things often happen, life makes things a bit more challenging. Last week my wife’s sister came into town and stayed with us in order to help celebrate my wife’s graduation. I was so proud to see K walk across the stage as she was able to close another chapter in her life as a new one prepared to be written. We were also happy to be able to host her sister to help show support for what has been a long road to a degree.
As her sister was going to stay in our apartment, I decided ahead of time that I was not going to hide Katie’s things from site. I have a closet full of clothes, shoes, along with a bathroom full of makeup and brushes. If she saw any of these things and asked questions, I wasn’t going to shy away. I was going to open up to her. As it happened, big sis was helping K pick out an outfit to go out on Beale Street when she saw some heels that clearly didn’t belong to K. The cat was out of the bag, and I told her all about Katie. She responded very positively, saying that we all need to be true to ourselves. She even got some use out of my massive collection of makeup and jewelry.
As the week progressed, K and my attitude changed. The emotional high of the weekend, going out and seeing the sites, was replaced by the worry for her sister’s future. She is unemployed, with no insurance, overweight, and likely with many undiagnosed heath issues. We have tried to help her over the years to improve her life style choices, but to no avail. How much responsibility does one have to help a family member? We’ve tried talking to her about proper foods and exercise, but there has been no change in attitude. By the time she left, K and I were demoralized and allowed ourselves to think it was hopeless. K came to the realization that her sister will not be around much longer if things don’t change quickly.
I have often felt, especially as a couple living far away from friends and family, how much should we do to help those close to us? At what point does one say, “it’s their responsibility, and I’ve done the best I could”? Yes, one has to take responsibility for their own life, but it is so hard to see someone close to you who is not, and it’s hard to just let them be, even when they are an adult, making conscious choices about their own life. We let our guard down for a moment, giving up on her and her situation, thinking things were hopeless, but the more I think about it, the more I think that was a mistake. The best thing we can do for those around us is to love them. In the end, big sis did come to Memphis to show her love and support for K as she advanced in her life goals, we should at least return the favor. And if they feel that love and support, hopefully they will someday find the will to improve their life, on their own terms.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend everyone,