The holidays have been a struggle for me in recent years. I’m not bothered by their commercialism or family gatherings or any of that superficial garbage that most people get upset over. It’s just not my way to care about it all. I like to just roll with the situation and do what I can to spread joy in what is supposed to be a happy time.
Lately, however, that’s been the part I’ve had trouble doing. I’ve spent the better part of the last four years out of work and when I did have a job, I was let go before the holidays happened and didn’t have the spare cash to buy gifts for most of the people who deserved them from me.
But this blog isn’t about me and my emo feelings. This is a tribute.
As one does with any sibling, I’ve had ups and downs with both my older brother and younger sister, but they’ve always been there (mostly) to help out with whatever issues I may have had. These days, it’s my sister who has been coming forward and giving whatever she can to help out. It’s tough for me to accept it without feeling worthless because her situation really is far worse than mine.
Earlier this year, she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body decides that perfectly normal and healthy tissues are foreign and need to be attacked. In her instance, it started in the kidneys.
She was sick for almost a full year before getting it checked. At first she didn’t think it was a big deal but as time went on, it became more apparent that this was serious. The snafu came in the form of her not having health insurance, therefore keeping her from wanting to accumulate a giant medical bill that she’d never be able to pay off.
Fast forward to now. She takes a pill cocktail every day and goes to dialysis three times a week because of her kidney failure. The staff at the clinic is incompetent to the point where they sometimes damage her arm while getting the needles in place. Last month, they put the needles in backwards which effectively lessened the amount of cleaning of her blood. She told me this, and I immediately wanted to firebomb the building.
Because of the disease, she’s currently receiving disability money from the state. It’s not much at all and most of it goes to her medicine costs and basic expenses. And yet, she always offers to help me and I am forever grateful.
Really, she has no business giving me anything, and yet she never hesitates to ask if I need anything. I don’t know if a lot of people in the world would be so selfless and caring, and having no way to return the favor bothers the fuck out of me.
Today (the 6th) is her birthday. All I can really do is tell her “happy birthday” and be a nice older brother, but I wish I could do more. One day, I’ll do something special for her kindness. Lord knows she deserves it.
Happy Birthday, Sara. Thank you for everything. You’re one of the strongest people I’ll ever know.