Riding the Train

March 27, 2019

How long am I going to be fucked up about this?

My sister’s death (not gonna use the S word) knocked something loose in me. I almost can feel the bones rattling underneath my skin.

It made me realize that I haven’t even begun to deal with the death of my mother for Chrissakes, and now I have another body to add to the flaming pile of you-know-what that I’m living right now.

Mama’s death was different; I had so many details to attend to (including the decision to take her off life support) that I really didn’t sit with the enormity of it. I was worried about Daddy-o and in full throttle Caregiver/I Got This/ Mode. And there was the whole business of spending two hours every day driving down to clean out stuff. I didn’t have time to deal with my own stuff. Or maybe, if I’m honest, I was afraid to have a quiet moment to let feelings creep in.

Now I have this stupid concussion and can’t DO anything. I’m forced to get on the You Be Fucked Train, which seems to run in hyperloop and never stops or gets anywhere. Just circles. It feels stupid and sad and futile and I hate it.

I was trying to explain what it feels like to be riding the You Be Fucked Train to a friend and it went something like: “Well, you are on this train going nowhere, and it’s packed with people so you have to sit with some lady who is chatty and sells Mary Kay and is a loud chewer and snacks on garlic hummus and BBQ Cornnuts the whole trip. And you can’t believe your bad luck.”

I was mostly joking, but I have friends who know me to my black, rotten core, and she got it.

There be darkness here.

And guilt.

Because I gave up on my sister to save myself. I felt I had to. In my rational moments, I know it was the right decision, but in the middle of the night? Different story. Your thoughts go to a bad neighborhood that you don’t want to be in.

So we sit back and ride the train, I guess.

I’ll be waiting anxiously for the next rest stop.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth March 27, 2019 at 10:42 am

Oh, I get all of this–the feeling of not letting your brain think because you have so many other things to think about, and then finally letting it and dealing with the emotional fallout that comes from it. Just try to take care of yourself the best you can and reach out if you need help. ::hugs::


Dana Talusani March 29, 2019 at 9:51 am

Elizabeth, let’s talk soon.I would love that (and that’s saying something because I HATE the phone). PM me your number again? I am not very organized, clearly.


Tracy Schmitt March 27, 2019 at 10:53 am

Your honesty and candor are so important. What a crappy time all the way around…and the grief and coping process is so awkward, clumsy and difficult. I think that when you have to “handle” everything, that grief takes on a late effect ( I found that recently myself) and sometimes, you don’t even notice it happening because you are in an autopilot and coping method trying to take care of everyone else. YOU did all you could for your sister…and for yourself. You didn’t give up on her…YOU allowed yourself and your family to LIVE and have life and love and not consume your being. Those middle of the night moments are nightmarish and on replay, I am sure…but I cannot tell you how BRAVE, strong and resilient you are…because you had to and because that is who you are. Thank you for this post and sharing this.


Dana Talusani March 29, 2019 at 9:49 am

You have such a big heart, my friend.


Annie Jones March 27, 2019 at 11:22 am

You have one of the biggest hearts I know. Your loyalty and fierceness for those you love is equally huge. You did everything you could and probably a lot more over the years for her. She made her own choices that led to the isolation. The guilt is lying to you.
Love you my fierce beautiful friend


Dana Talusani March 29, 2019 at 9:49 am

How is it that one of my best friends I found via Internet? I love you so much.


Papa Guy March 28, 2019 at 8:25 pm

Oh My God!!!…..
I was blind, but now I see.
apologies for my ignorance.
remember what I told you. it’s all still true.


Dana Talusani March 29, 2019 at 9:47 am

No apologies. Truly.


denise March 31, 2019 at 7:40 am

my friend. i have a story to tell you. i am in a bit of a shit storm myself. this morning, when i woke up to snow and 24 degrees while my family is in a sunny warm place that i couldn’t go to because of pain. and this whole last year and a half has been testing me and testing me and testing me and i finally got to the point where last week i cried whenever i talked to a doctor or medical person. anywho, i drove somewhere to do something normal, hoping that would let me do a bit of litmus test of how i’m feeling and i remembered seeing your post earlier this week. i was so excited that i remembered and i dragged my ass into this restaurant and opened my laptop and read your post. i’m sorry for your pain. i’m sorry for your guilt. i’m sorry for your grief and pain and mourning. i’m sorry for the inky stains that visit in the dark. i’m sorry for your losses. i’m grateful for your candor. i’m grateful that you speak the truth about your life. i’m grateful because you make me feel normal and less alone. even in the dark, you are a light. i’m warming my hands and heart to it right now. thank you.


Dana Talusani March 31, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Denise, I am so sorry. What’s going on? (feel free to keep that stuff private if you wish). You want me to save you a seat on the You Be Fucked Train? We can kick out that Mary Kay lady. I will bring better snacks. Seriously, though, I hate that you are going through pain. I wish I had something helpful to offer you but I’m stuck and realize I don’t know anything. Sending you love across the screen.


Kel April 1, 2019 at 9:07 am

Ah, hell. I’m so sorry, Dana. The unfortunate answer to your leading question is “a really fucking long time.” But the longer answer is, a really fucking long time, but please know that you have people who truly care and want to be there for you to help you navigate this shit creek with or without a kayak.

Survivor guilt is such a real thing, and it compounds the grief in a myriad of ways. Grief is an insidious bastard that will sneak in where you never dreamed it would appear. And yeah, having health issues on top of it just hand you Shrek levels of layers.

My heart is breaking for you. You did indeed do the right thing to save yourself. There was no truer choice, because at the end of the day you’re the only one who can save yourself. Same goes for your sister. It always feels like our responsibility to save the ones we love, but it’s simply not possible.

If you ever need an “outsider’s ear” to just vent, know that I’m around. No judgement, no guilt. Just a nod of understanding. Xoxo


Dana Talusani April 6, 2019 at 10:10 am


How did you get so wise? Thank you.


Dawn in Michigan April 30, 2019 at 8:53 am

I’m so sorry Dana. I’ve been away and haven’t been following along. Such a huge loss…I hope you don’t have to ride this train forever, but realistically a little bit of you will always be on that trip.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: