Am I my sister's keeper? Am I supposed to be my sister's keeper? I ask myself, "What exactly is my moral obligation to my sister?" or to my nephew, or to another sister (I have five), or to whomever is going though a crisis, (usually self-induced) at the moment.
Since my mother died, I have pondered this question more often than ever. It reminds me of when I worked in an office, in the mortgage business. There was always some working stiff at a cubicle, clocking in and clocking out, performing seemingly unimportant, mundane, monotonous duties. Not until working stiff Jane was away on vacation or out sick for a few days did the rest of us have a clue what she did. Then, when the office assembly line would invariably come to a crashing halt, did it become crystal clear not only exactly what Jane did all day at her cubicle, but just how fucking important it was. Maybe not $100,000 salary important, or office with a view important, but the kind of important that totally fucks with your job when Jane isn't there to do hers.
I always knew my mother dealt with my family and their numerous and chronic financial and emotional troubles. I just did not realize quite how much, nor how often , she dealt with them. I would not necessarily concede that she dealt with them well, but deal with them she did. Whether it was a reassuring "It's alright, drink a cup of tea dear, take an aspirin, and it will all look better tomorrow" phone call to a hand-wringing sibling of mine, or doling out dough to cover another's rent, cell phone bill, or bail-out money-my Mom took care of it it.
Ironically, before my mom died, I thought I was dealing with those things things frequently (and I was), but after my Mom died, I became aware of just how much she had been sparing me. I had no idea I had been only receiving the crumbs from the fudge that is my family (you know- a little sweet, but plenty nutty).
One of my sisters is in a crisis. A crisis of epic proportion. The kind of crisis that if not resolved could change her life and others' lives-in serious and disastrous ways. This crisis is so overwhelming, both emotionally and financially to me, that I have been avoiding it, ignoring it, literally hiding under my bed covers and watching television instead of taking phone calls from her children, from my other sisters. I just DON'T want to deal with it; I am not UP to dealing with it, AND should I be dealing with it? I resent that I am being asked to deal with it. AGAIN.
Am I my sister's keeper? And if I am not, then who is?
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