Facing Fear

I wrote this post just over a week ago.  It turns out that the diagnosis my sister was awaiting was a positive test for breast cancer.  I am posting this today as I walked through the fear of going with her to receive the results on Tuesday.   I am learning that when I feel fear I must reach for a place to love myself through it and take the steps to move forward, rather than letting it paralyse me or hold me back :

I am reaching a point where I want to embrace my fear and take action and still feel hope and love for myself and everyone even in the midst of this fear so that I don’t spin out totally and loose touch with my safe ground.  I also do not want to allow my fear to paralyse me like it does at times.  I think the further I go on this journey the more insight into myself I obtain.

Today I felt a lot of fear as my sister had to go for a biopsy following a routine mammogram.  The results will not be known until Tuesday but I felt immediately scared and began to spin out a little. I used self talk to calm myself and contain the negativity and fear that was arising.  The other thing was the sadness that came up when I spoke to my sister and the realisation, after I got off the phone,  that all of this is occurring at exactly the same time of year as my father was diagnosed with cancer in 1984.

Those memories are pertinent at this time of year, even though it was so many years ago.  I am powerless really over the outcome of the test for my sister.  I can only be there to love and support.  My sister sounded so strong and positive on the phone.  As we spoke she said she had been in melt down earlier, especially after she had spoken to her sons.  I am reminded of the day my mother called to ask me to come and visit her and Dad and Dad had to give me the news of his own cancer.  How hard that must be for a parent.  How painful it was for both of us but the love that was felt too as I crossed the room to hug my Dad and he dissolved in tears.

Until the outcome of the biopsy is known I can do nothing and worry will rob my day from me and keep me paralysed.  At times like this I always think of the serenity prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

The first step is to figure out if it is something I have any power over to change.  If it is not I can pray for acceptance and serenity and take active steps to put those in my day by engaging in something that brings joy and good energy for me.  If it is something I can change and need to find courage for I can take a deep breath and go forward holding my fear by the hand and acting anyway.

Even if it is a negative result I know I have the resilience to cope.  I was able to be by my other sister’s side in the last days of her life and accept it was time to turn off the life support and let her go.  I could cry and tell her all the things I didn’t get to say to my Dad, as his death was sudden under an emergency procedure and I had been unable to visit him the night before.

Many years ago I could not work through these feelings.  It took until 15 years later for them to come out of the deep freeze and numbing of my addiction.  These days though I miss him, I know I have grieved.  Some days I am still grieving for my sister who has died.  Some days I am grieving for myself and other days for my Mum too.  Grief will not destroy me.  I do not need to fear it.  I need only feel it and know it as part of what it means to love and face the final earthly separation.

A Healing with my Sister

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I received an apology from my sister today. It was truly from the heart. It broke through the wall of all my anger which was really a cry for love, for respect, for understanding. It is not always easy being the younger sister. It probably wasn’t easy for my sister to have a younger sister, particularly when she hit puberty and I was just an annoyance. Never the less I would have loved to have a sister who was kinder.

My oldest sister who died was always more loving to me, taking me on holidays and away from the emotional vacancy of my growing up years with a Mum who didn’t really want to spend any time, but was working two jobs and tired all of the time. I was just a handful, a burden that was a bit too much to bear. So it hit all the harder when my older sister was the one who went under in the most painful way with a brain haemorrhage.

It was a very formative time in my life, no one’s fault but it made that adolescent time, already made difficult by my near fatal car crash and three months suspended in skeletal traction at the age of 17, harder. It was two major traumas in a six month period and the trauma with my older sister extended over many years.

I can’t expect anyone who has not been through that to understand, some show empathy. At times I feel a bit anxious sharing on here about it all the time. Is that a narcissistic pursuit? For me telling my story over and over is a way of healing and it is necessary for trauma sufferers but we need some validation with this.

Anyway back to my other sister’s apology. I have watched her struggle through several breakdowns now, five separate hospitalisations including one that involved extensive shock treatment, which was horrific to me, but others swear it helps them. I would have liked her to be treated in a more loving way, but the truth is when she would be in a manic flight, she was really difficult to be around, taking over control of everything, being very invasive at times and very brash and harsh in her speech. Nine years on she has no memory of much of the nasty things she said. I wish I did not take it to heart, was tougher and able to shrug it off, but that isn’t me.

I guess what was affecting my sister was the illness, not her true self underneath that was struggling for expression after coming out of a less than satisfying marriage. She went through a lot of loss and change and was trying to support several people she love through death. In the end it all took its toll.   But sometimes it was hard to feel for the vulnerable, soft person underneath who seemed to be hiding. Sometimes (most times) I just could not access that part of her.

It’s not like that now but the memory of those past nastinesses have haunted me and some of her words have remained lodged in my body psyche like pieces of schrapnel. All I really wanted was acknowledgement of this, a genuine sorry and that is what happened today. That sorry helped to break down and express the longing I have to be close. I don’t know how close we can be as we are very different people but I have the desire in my heart to love and be loved by my sister.

Last Friday we finally laid my oldest sister’s ashes to rest. This had to wait over 14 months due to both my mother and my other sister being hospitalised, twice since then, the first time on the day of the funeral. This week I am conscious that something very deep and dark stirred within me. My body has carried and buried a lot, this time it rose up which is par for the course when we have had so many planets in the watery sign of Cancer.   My body felt water logged.

Yesterday there was huge confrontation. This time of year the shift from water to fire is always tumultuous as the Sun opposes my Mars Saturn Moon in the sixth.   Sixth house Mars energy tends to get buried and there is a real need to express but we tend to internalise. The anger I felt came out in a huge blast, I probably could have handled it better if I was more aware but I could only do what I could do.

Once it blows Moon Mars energy is usually spent very quickly and I’ll move on, Saturn thrown into the mix though tends to indicate I’ll meet external Saturn defences which I’ve internalised and give me a lot of fear around emotional expression.  Strong Neptune and a lot of seventh house planets make me fear conflict.

I’m glad for myself I was able to bring this out of the shadows yesterdy. While Mum found it hard to validate the way I really feel, going through this made me realise how a lack of validation and other intense frustrations have shaped me and this helps me to be more aware and learn others of bringing it to light.

I was able to feel more real love for my sister whose apology was so genuine and underneath I felt the love and compassion that was eclipsed when the harder side of her comes out. Mercury opp Moon doesn’t always have an alignment between heart and head, my sister’s Virgo moon probably feels deeply but is reserved, Mercury Pisces plumbs the emotional depths but they are hard to articulate.   And our mutual Chiron Mars aspects end up causing us both problems at times.

I’m feeling so much more peace tonight. I’ve learned a lot over the past 36 hours. I have love in my heart where before there was pain. Loosing Judith my older sister was both hard and also a relief as she suffered so much and was on too many drugs at the end of her life.  Its been hard to fear my sister going down a similar pathway.   I see the way she is trying to front up and deal with things.  I know that can be tough.  I no longer feel such a gulf between us.  I am so grateful for the precious gift of that apology.