I’m the only one left who remembers my childhood.

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So, the other shoe has dropped so to speak.

I don’t usually write personal things, but this one is important.

This isn’t going to be a long post but I wanted to get this out there before too much more time went by. I imagine I will have more to say on this later.

My brother was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma in March 2010. They were sure they got it all when they removed the tumour along with one adrenal gland, one kidney, and about 1/3 of his pancreas.

My mom was diagnosed with stage-IV breast cancer in July. Her treatment was palliative. She seemed to be doing OK – was even starting to try and eat better.

In September, it was discovered that my brother’s cancer was not gone and that it had grown rather aggressively.

In November they stopped treatment.

He died on January 17.

I feared my mom wouldn’t be able to recover from that one. Her condition had been pronounced stable in March 2011, yet when she went in for a blood transfusion on April 28, they booked her into the hospital and told her she was dying.

She died May 10.

My dad died when I was a kid so now there is no one left who remembers my childhood. Not really. There’s no-one left who can tell me where the paintings on my mom’s wall came from, or who gave her that ring she’s had for as long as I can remember.

It feels like the end of the longest, hardest, and darkest winter of my life. I really hope it’s the end of the winter.

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I’m the only one left who remembers my childhood. — 5 Comments

  1. I’m very sorry for your loss Katrin. I notice some time has passed. I hope you are doing better.
    I felt I should respond because I have the same feelings as you wrote about.
    I lost my only brother recently and my only sister several years ago. My father has also passed away and my elderly mother is in a nursing home having suffered a major stroke. Although she is still here, I know it won’t be long for her.
    I feel like I’ve lost my clan, my tribe.
    If you’d like to chat off-line please let me know.

  2. Kati,
    I wish I could help you. I remember stuff. I sure hope Spring will be the next season you encounter. Growth, in all things and in all ways. Just know that I am here, and think of you daily. Love you my cousin.

  3. The sun remains on the horizon.

    We have this vast, internal Photoshop when it comes to our memories – of ourselves and of others. It’s easier said than done, when you’re at that point of feeling disconnected, but… a life well-lived remains so.

    If you’ve had a good kind of life, aside from that great, existential, “who am I?” discussion, no amount of erased memory changes that. Take comfort in the fact that good things lay ahead and behind.

  4. I’ve been having similar thoughts. My Dad is the only one left, but either his memory is fading or I don’t remember things so well myself, because what he remembers is different from what I remember. If a tree fell in a forest and there’s nobody to remember it, did it really fall at all? Or, to paraphrase Confucius, one man knows what happened, two men are never sure.

    • It’s a rather lonely thought. Granted, I still have aunts and cousins (only two uncles left – one of whom also has cancer) but now that both my brother and my mom are gone, there is no-one left that shared my life before I was an adult. I’m starting to go through my mom’s things and I keep coming across items that have been around as long as me – but I don’t know the stories behind them. Knowing my mom, each one has a story. There’s no-one left to ask.

      A few years ago I gave my mom a pretty journal and asked her to write her life. I’m grateful for that. She finished it last summer and made copies for the remaining family members. There are some factual errors I can verify, which means there are undoubtedly other errors as well, but it’s still nice to have.

      She also kept personal diaries intermittently. One day, I plan to go through them and write about her life myself. She had quite an interesting one – she was a child in Berlin during the 30’s and 40’s.

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