A Mind is a Terrible thing to Waste.

kimmyThe sky, still dark on a cold November morning is as mysterious as my thoughts.
I rub sleep from my eye, and contemplate genealogy as the coffeemaker hisses and brews.
I am thankful for the quiet of the early morning, a respite from the busy day ahead, as much as the inevitable awakening of my sister. Equal parts guilt and shame are transmitted by my brain pre coffee and rush to cover me like a blanket.

The warm coffee and its aroma do little to soothe my mind or soften these feelings. I try to sit still and savor the quiet moments of my first cup. Smoke from my cigarette swirls and drifts as surely as the thoughts I fight to keep suppressed. Just like my sisters awakening, it is impossible to keep the thoughts down for long.

Has it been only a week? It seems as though it has been a lifetime. Actually it has, I know it as I reach for the pot and fill a second cup. I… No, we as a family have known for as long as I remember that something was wrong.
Just as we have simply ignored or put aside the uncomfortable feelings as a way to avoid or hide from the reality of her illness. Now it has come to the surface some years later, and is residing twenty feet from me.
I remember as well, twenty years ago the hope and relief we all felt when her behaviors were given a diagnosis. It comforts me little now, but I do remember thinking at the time “Bipolar, cant be so bad. Drugs can control it, or offer some hope?”

Again, guilt rushes over me as I hear her voice. I cringe, knowing my peace is about to be broken, and my guilt is overwhelming as I realize she can find no peace in her mind.

I feel guilt over the irritation I have felt with her. Years of cleaning up after her drug abuse, her insane behaviors, and the mess associated with her lifestyle. I realize that none of it was by choice. rather the aftermath of her “disorder.” I wish I could take back some of the anger I showed her, some of the lectures I delivered, knowing now they simply did not compute. But I can’t. All I can offer now is love, understanding and hope. That frustrates me to no end. Twenty years of modern therapy and medicine as wasted as this life before me.

I pour her a cup of coffee and we sit in our own worlds, our mutual silence, as different as the workings of our minds. I watch as she struggles to drink a cup of coffee without spilling it everywhere. I bring napkins, just like the thousands of napkins I walk around cleaning up after a day of her suffering fidgeting.

In the early morning light I watch her lost in her own mind, her eyes flicker with a combination of the young girl she used to be and fear. I see her face, once young and pretty, now etched with and showing the wrinkles of time and a life of fear and worry. Four years younger than I, she now looks twenty years older.

She thanks me profusely for the coffee and a multitude of things as they swirl through her unsettled mind. I feel guilt about that as well.
As our mother joins us for Coffee, Kim speaks of our younger brother, deceased for nearly a decade now. Tears fall from her face as my Mother dies a little inside for all her kids.
We speak in silence, each of us lost in our own thoughts now. Ironically the same way we handled my sisters “Condition” for the last twenty years.

I excuse myself as they continue a conversation without words. I feel guilt that I have no power to change any of it. We exchange an “I love you” amongst our loud silence.

I return to my computer where I continue to make assisted living plans for my younger sister. My heart breaks for her, and all I can think of is a failed saying from a failed war on drugs. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”


~ by onthedarkside on November 23, 2013.

One Response to “A Mind is a Terrible thing to Waste.”

  1. You are a beautiful being. I applaud you for your bravery living such a tortuous life. At times I’m sure it seemed quite beautiful but always sucked you back into darkness. You are amazingly kind and patient

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