*This post is a major downer, and isnt about my IVF process so please feel free to skip it. It just makes me feel better to write it down*

This morning at 8:03am my sister, the one who hasn’t spoken to me in 4 years called. Because I happen to know she’s visiting our mother, and was afraid something happened I answered the phone.


“Hi, I want to know what you know about moms condition”

“This feels loaded B, what do you want?”

“Fine, I will make this clear and frank. Are you aware that mom has pancreatic cancer?”


“Well what are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to visit her soon, I’m going to try to get along with you and I’m going to try to be a good daughter to her. Shes a grown woman, and I have to respect her choice not to get treatment for it”

“You realize that its fatal”

“Yes, so is congestive heart failure. Endgame for pancreatic cancer is roughly 5 years. Without treatment I figure if we are lucky we will have 2″

“We can expect 2 to 2.5 years, so you’re not going to try to talk her into treatment?”


“It’s obvious I care more for her since I’m here and you aren’t, and I want her to get treatment and you don’t”

“It’s not a competition, and I live 8 hours away, you live less than an hour, where do you get the balls to call me at 8am after 4 years with this snotty, condescending attitude?”


This particular sister is 50 years old. She seems to forget that in 95′ I was the one that came home from the East Coast and took care of our father when he was first diagnosed with congestive heart failure, drove him to a million appointments, fought with his doctors about his medications and why they kept causing him to faint. It’s a long way to the ground when you’re 6’4″. At the same time our mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. Again with the Dr appointments, and the meds and the chemo and radiation. I nursed them both. Alone.

Our mother has survived breast cancer twice, she’s been to the cancer rodeo before. She doesn’t want to do it again. I understand that. I respect her decision. I choose to stay neutral. Shes never been someone that anyone could make do anything so I’m not going to try. It has nothing to do with how much I love her, it’s that I respect her decision to live her life on her own terms.

My sister also seems to forget that in 2001, I was the one that ID’ed our fathers body, closed his eyes, signed all the paperwork, chose his urn, got in touch with the priest, set up the memorial, and paid for the funeral. About that. No one ever told me that a man 6’4″ would need two urns. I also picked up his ashes and dealt with every single ugly task around his passing. Alone. Not a single one of my 4 siblings ever offered to help with even the most basic tasks.

Shes accuses me of “living my life in secret” because I don’t share anything but the very basic facts of my life with anyone in my family. I don’t share them because I don’t trust them. Because they gossip, and tend to be judgy and unkind. While I wish with every single fiber of my being that it was different, it isn’t. I can’t make it so. So I keep my stepdaughter achievements to myself, I don’t tell them when we have gone through a rough patch, I don’t tell them about my successes or failures. And none of them know about my IVF or anything else in my life that matters. My mother and sisters have these hen parties where I get regularly trashed and gossiped about. They say I am “stuck up”, and have my “nose in the air” and that I think “I am too good for them”.

None of those things are true. I don’t think I am better than anyone. In fact, if I am perfectly honest, I have spent my whole life feeling not good enough, not accomplished enough, just not, enough. I guess to them, my reserve comes across as aloof. It’s not my intention. I swear that it’s self-preservation. it’s the only way I can subdivide my life into chunks that I can handle.

My husband wants to bring my mother here and have her live with us until the end. I will talk to her about it. If, on Friday, I wind up scheduled for an egg retrieval, I will go through with it, and then I will drive the 8 hours to see my mother. I will talk to her about coming to live with us and I will do my best to put the past in the past.

I haven’t posted a song in a while, but this one seems fitting to me. It’s a cover of a Bonnie Raitt song.  I know it’s about lovers, but for me it represents all the feelings I have about my family.


15 comments on “Sister

  1. Daryl says:

    Looooove this song. I’m sorry things are so strained between you and your sister. I tend to agree with you, though, about respecting your mother’s decision and not trying to convince her to go through treatment if she doesn’t want to. It has nothing to do with who loves her more. Best of luck on Friday!

  2. Jeanette says:

    Thank you! On Friday I will find out if my numbers are good enough to schedule a retrieval for Monday. I appreciate the good wishes and hope that the follicles have grown.

  3. (((hugs))) jeanette. i pray that whatever it takes for her to face issues, will happen. and, i hope that you can remain in a positive spirit for friday. ❤

  4. Paulette O. says:

    Oh, Jeanette. You are being wise and strong, and are dealing with this situation better than most people would. I admire you for that. I have issues with certain members of my extended family, and I know how trying and draining it can be to contend with pettiness and hurt feelings. It seems that at every turn, there’s a misunderstanding, and mean-spirited things being said. I don’t feel it’s terrible to admit it’s fortunate that they don’t live close by. But you’re handling things so well. You’re smart for keeping your personal business to yourself, within the circle of your immediate family and friends. I wish you well with your mom, and with your ongoing IV treatments. I truly hope you’re blessed with a child…you’ll be in my prayers. Take care.

    • Jeanette says:


      Thank you. I dont feel wise or strong. I feel gutted. I appreciate all your prayers and well wishes. I hope I am blessed as well. Thank you again!

  5. John Markham says:

    I know what it means to have a sister with issues. I isolated myself from mine almost two decades ago We had one tense weekend together on neutral ground about five years ago for a family wedding.

    Do what needs to be done. Self-preservation includes your psyche, too.

  6. So sorry to hear about your mother’s illness and the strain between you and your sister. Sending you positive fertile thoughts for growing follies and a successful retrieval 🙂

  7. Deborah says:

    There is a lot you are already dealing with and your sister certainly isn’t of any help. I feel sorry for her that she is missing out on a sisterhood with such a wonderful person as yourself. I think you are doing exactly what is right by respecting your mother’s wishes. And you’re doing what you need to stay healthy. I’m sorry you don’t have more support from your fam. You are a very strong person.
    I hope Friday goes well for you.

    • Jeanette says:

      Coming from you that means a lot. When is the ultrasound? Are you holding up ok?

      Thank you for the hope. I really need it right now.

      • Deborah says:

        We had the u/s sound today. Thank you. I am doing fine. I’m more concerned about you. IVF is a journey of so many emotional roller coasters and now you have to deal with so much else. I know you are strong, but everyone needs a break some times.

      • Jeanette says:

        Thank you for your concern. I will continue down the path Ive chosen. I will keep trying, and I will do the best I can where it comes to my family. Her call to me gutted me yesterday, I spent most of the day in tears. Because I know it will never change.

        It makes me more determined than ever though, to do better, to be a better person, a better stepmother, and hopefully I will become a mother in my own right and get the privilege of raising one child, always mindful of the things I dont want to do.

        I know the child doesn’t exist yet, but I dont want it to be like me. I want it to be soft, and sweet, and loved.

  8. Louisa says:

    Ugh. I’m so sorry you had that horrible conversation with your sister. I bet she actually not forgotten all that you did for your parents but is acutely aware of it and feels guilty about it given that your mother has cancer again. Sending strength your way.

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