For better, for worse.

“You’ve got to promise me that if anything happens to me, you’ll look out for her.”

These words were spoken by TK, my sister’s partner for over five years.  We were motoring back from Elliot Key in their boat, after a relaxing day on the water.  T was snoozing on the rear bench seat, while TK and i sat in the wheelhouse and talked, watching the Miami skyline sparkle at twilight.

i had made a weekend trip to attend the surprise 50th birthday party TK held for T last August.  After a gorgeous day on the water, with T sleeping and the wind noise drowning out our voices, TK and i had a chance to discuss T’s life-long battle with bipolar disorder.

daisyfae: i promised my Dad that i’d take care of her, and the others.  So i’m in it with you, for as long as you two are together.

TK:  I’m in it forever!  I want to grow old with her.  She’s perfect for me, and I can’t imagine life without her!  I’ve read up on bipolar, and read some of the books written by partners of people with bipolar.  Pretty sure I won’t be able to do this alone if it gets rough.

daisyfae:  Menopause and bipolar are a particularly tricky combination – and she just turned fifty!  Make sure she pays close attention to her hormones. 

TK:  I’ll do whatever it takes.  It’ll help to know you’ve got my back.

daisyfae:  She has had a tendency to lose her balance about every 3-5 years.  It’s been awhile, so i’m wondering if she’s due for some serious trouble.

And here we are nine months later.  i think the current situation counts as “serious trouble”.  T called Mom at midnight last Tuesday, talking rapid-fire, and obviously under a lot of stress.  Mom called to get me engaged… and after some calls to T, and TK from the road earlier this week, it was pretty obvious that T might be headed for hospitalization.  Which should be avoided if at all possible, as there would be potentially damaging professional implications if it becomes necessary.

Sitting in an airport Wednesday night, i was on the phone with T as i waited for my delayed flight* to board.  She was at home with TK, and was screaming into the phone about the horrible things TK had been doing in regard to the sale of their current house, and the renovations on their future home. 

If you’ve ever dealt with someone in the throes of a full-blown breakdown**, then you may know what this sounds like. 

My sister, T, is brilliant.  She is gifted with words.  When the brain chemistry goes awry?  She has the ability to cut you to the very molecules of your soul with her words.  The more she loves you?  The worse she can stab you, as she knows where to place the dagger with surgical precision.

i listened as she dished a vile stew of acidic words.  Tearing TK apart.  i listened as a door slammed in the background as TK couldn’t take any more of it and walked out.  A thousand miles away, and i could do nothing, except sit in a quiet corner of an airport and try to convince my sister that the most important thing she could do right now is sleep.

Helpless.

More phone calls yesterday, and today.  T’s therapist is involved.  Exchanging text messages, offering whatever help i can provide.  Offering to fly down there if it would help.  And a long talk with TK tonight.  Wondering if she can get past the words.  Wondering how they can work it out.  Wondering if T could possibly still love her in light of all that anger. 

i reminded her that T’s been through these times before.  She will get it behind her again and move forward.  The words are her primary defense mechanism when she feels like everything is collapsing around her.  There can be healing – as evidenced by the fact that i’m still engaged after being on the receiving end of her verbal switch blade several times.

Then the text a few minutes ago…

TK:  I love T so much.  If I could do anything to go back in time and fix it, I would.  Life without her would be meaningless.  I knew when I met her that she was and is perfect for me.  I don’t want to lose her.

We should all be so lucky as to know that kind of love…

Oh, and by the way?  They are forbidden by law from marrying.  As you can clearly see, it would denigrate the foundation of society if we ever allowed legalization of same-sex marriage amongst such wanton, promiscuous and amoral homosexuals.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* i know you are as stunned as i am that i had another fucked up flight this week…..

** Hell, just pull up some of the recent videos of Charlie Sheen.  That’s what it looks like, folks.

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50 thoughts on “For better, for worse.

  1. So, so, difficult. And your sister is lucky (and undoubtedly knows it one better days) to get that much love from her partner.
    And I cannot, just cannot understand why your country and ours do not recognise same sex marriage. It is not as if anyone is advocating that it be made compulsory.
    All digits crossed for everyone that your sister gets the support she needs. And that her partner and family do as well.

  2. One day someone will realise that legalising same sex marriage does not make it compulsory! But I’m not holding my breath. Best strong thoughts heading halfway around the world for T, TK and for DF!

  3. Once T is through the woods and back on the path again, you should suggest they come up to Canada. Serving up marriage for same sex couples from the US is pretty much a cottage industry here.

    Hoping that the dark woods part is not too long this time around and that the collateral damage is minimum.

    Don’t forget to take care of you miss daisyfae. You’re tough but this stuff takes it toll on even the toughest.

    • that’s a good idea. i think they’d like that… after they’re through this round. maybe something to look forward to. i’m fine… lots of tears, sitting in the dark last night, but some nights that’s just what you have to do.

  4. This is what real committed love is and an example that the GOP should be able to recognize but never will even though the average American would know it in an instant. And this is why marriage will ultimately be allowed for everyone because truth is truth.

    Sorry to read that your Sis is on a round the bender. My brother’s last one actually ended with his Ex’s family stepping up and making the commitment to keep him sheltered and employed. He even seems to be doing his part in avoiding his triggers and seeking out help. Crisis isn’t always a bad thing. Wishing you and T/TK the best during these tough times.

    • i hope you’re right that eventually the reality of it will trump the stoopid… and very glad to hear that your brother has potentially turned the corner. if my sister and her partner survive this as a couple? i really believe it will be for their lifetimes… thanks for the support.

  5. Ahhh.. now I understand the email. A lifetime spent fighting against stacked odds primes us for the moments when we have to once more dig deep to find that hidden strength. It’s never easy, it’s never pleasant, but it is within your reach. Hard times, but times of which you in particular are well equipped.

  6. That’s a sweet text and I only hope they keep feeling the same towards one another.

    There’s a case going through the European Court of Human Rights that, if successful, will overturn the ban on same sex marriages in the UK.

    • It really is beautiful how much TK loves her. And T loves her back…. she’s told me that. Hoping that the UK can perhaps clear a path for us backwards folks here in the states!

  7. sometimes the only thing (and the best thing) we can do is to just be available to listen and be in the moment. YOU are the best, sugar! i’m here for you now. xoxoxo

    • thanks, savannah. it’ll be ok. i’ve been the ‘on scene commander’ through a few of these, and it really seems impossible when it’s happening, but it does blow over… xoxo

  8. Some people are the people the rest of us pretend to be. Sorry to hear all three of you have to endure this, but endure I’m sure you will. Hopefully even through her pain your sister knows on some level how lucky she is to have you both.

    • TK is the real thing. Former pro golfer, she has strength, discipline, values and tenacity. i’d settle to be half as good as she is with that ‘commitment’ thing… T has moments when she realizes what she’s doing – those are the hard moments for me.

      Through the screaming and anger there will be a moment when her voice cracks, she softens and says “oh my god, how do i stop?” and then she’ll start up again… she’s still in there. that’s why i can never give up.

    • you saw the front end of it, with the call to my mom. it went on through wednesday and thursday as well. tried to reassure mom and keep her out of it, though. i’m ok. not much else to be done. long bike ride between rainstorms this morning helped tremendously.

    • just how life goes sometimes. why it’s important to always appreciate and note when things are good, because we are all moments away from the bad stuff… thanks…

  9. I wish I had had someone like you in my corner during my sister’s last bust up. You sound like you are very level headed and good to have on hand during a crisis, and T sounds like a wonderful, loving and forgiving partner to TK.

    Personally, speaking as a human first and an American second, I believe that persons who wish to marry should be able to. I don’t care what sex they are. All this homophobia is so much nonsense; unfortunately it is nonsense that hurts people, even gets them killed. And it is nonsense that precludes a whole segment of our population from the legal rights and protections that are inherent in the institution of matrimony.

    My thoughts are with you all in the coming days. Blessed be.

    • i haven’t always been so calm. not sure whether it’s due to experience, or the fact that i’m just tired… it wears you down after awhile and it also helps to know that she can get past it. the first few times, i really thought she wasn’t going to make it out. appreciate the support… it helps.

    • i promised dad. “number one son” even though i’m the youngest of four. there have been moments when i regret that promise, but i made it. as for the “glue”? maybe. but some of that is because i don’t let them in close enough to see the cracks in my character, chinks in my armour and my moments of breakdown. if i did? i don’t think i could be as effective in keeping that promise. appreciate the kind words… thanks.

  10. Hoping that today is better for you all. In an ugly patch in my life I discovered crying in the shower. People expect you to be a bit red and damp in the face when you emerge so the facade of coping can be maintained.

    • the weekend was fairly quiet… but it’s not over yet. i am quite adept at shower crying… when i was a kid, sharing a bedroom with 2 sisters? it was the only place i had. same was true when i became a wife/mother, sharing a house with my own clan…

  11. I know all too well.
    My ex-husband is bi-polar. He stopped taking his meds.
    I wanted to stay and work it out …. but sadly, he became physically abusive to both me and my child.
    That was almost 10 years ago.

    I am sorry that you and your family are going through all this; I know how traumatic it can be.
    Sending warm thoughts and best wishes to all of you Daisyfae.

    • then you know this tale better than most. she generally stays on her meds, they just need adjustment every few years as her body adapts and the chemistry changes. but she has also never become physical… that’s a different ball game. appreciate the support…

    • TK is a goddess. i am feeling mild guilt – my feelings range from “wish i was closer to help more” to “thank god i’m not the ‘on scene’ commander this time”. if T wasn’t still in there, with a big heart and a lot of quirks? we wouldn’t be hanging around.

  12. Hi Traveler —

    I think Marriage Equality is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. Have to believe it’s only a matter of time — it just is taking too long.

    Hope this week is better for you. Sending you as much stabilizing vibes as my bandwith allows 🙂

    • Thanks, Pearl. T has generally managed her illness heroically – it’s just those blips every few years. This is the first big one that TK’s experienced. i’m not sure i could hang with it either, on a daily basis…

  13. sorry for your pain. you are doing everything you can. T & TK are so fortunate you are there for both of them. No fear and anxiety is worse than knowing (hoping) this will pass but not knowing when. I have sisters I love so much, but know the journey is their’s and all I can do is listen and love them. Bless you.

    • i always appreciate it when you de-lurk. and you are exactly right – it’s their journey, not mine. like an instructor pilot, i have to know when to sit on my hands and let the student fly the plane, even when it looks like it’s going to auger in…

  14. It must be true what they say, that home rennovations will tear apart any stable relationship … hope your sister and her partner get through the difficult times together, sure they will, with your help!

    • Appreciate the encouragement. Not only renovations, but the sale of the current home, and concurrent move to a small condo until renovations are complete. It’s plenty of stress for someone not dealing with occasional brain chemistry imbalances…

  15. Wow I have come across your blog over the years, via various South African blogs, but reading your blog mirrors my life in so many ways. My mom is a hoarder too. My sister has bipolar, but it is intermeshed with a borderline personality-like inability to sustain relationships. She too can cut with her words in a way like no other. This post made me feel so happy, however, because your sister is alive at nearly 50 years old! I never imagined my sister could make it that far, but there is hope.

    • Hi, Po — and welcome to my trailer park! So very glad you stopped by – there is hope. Every case is different, and the path your sister takes will certainly have moments of difficulty for her, and you. It took time, but my sister is remarkably adapted, generally manages her life effectively, and for the majority of her hours – enjoys life! i’m absolutely buried this week, but will stop by your blog to say ‘hi’ when i have some free time…. hugs to you and your clan!

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