Melancholy Reminders of Family Past

A phone call from the past last evening made me realize how much I really miss my sister Lana. She was nuts, but she was always there for me. She would go off on these tangents of thought. Wasps for example. I never really thought about Wasps, but Lana was consumed by them for months on end.

She asked me during one phone call if I ever noticed how high tech Wasps were? I had to admit, I really had not given wasps a lot of thought. Lana pointed out to me how their insect body shape was different than other insects. They looked as if they wore helmets. They were streamlined, made for flying fast. Lana thought they came from a different place than most insects. Some high tech aliens introduced them to the earth was a possibility.

I listened to Lana talk for hours on end over the course of a summer about how cool and unique Wasps are. She was feeding a Wasp colony, and wrote the editor of the local paper about it. The paper published almost of her letters over the years. Humor maybe? It did not matter to Lana. Something as uniquely odd as feeding Wasps sugar water was perfectly normal in Lana’s thinking.

When Lana wore herself out about Wasps, she would get around to me. It was an expectation that I had come across or was thinking about something oddly unique. I do not remember much about my end of the conversations, it has been a while. For some conversations I would struggle to come up with a topic, thinking what I would say why she prattled away. Generally I would choose a topic Lana would relate too.

Sometimes Lana amazed me with her insights. Other times, she would go through three or four phone calls hashing over something that was important only to her. Lana made a connection between whales, dolphins, and birds one year during one of the single topic multi conversations we shared.

Lana told me that God created certain animals that performed specific duties for the earth. Sea mammals, some fish, and birds all had a specific role. Through their calls and chatter, they introduced and maintained a calmness over the earth, in the air and the sea. Without these animals, Lana told me, all animals would live in excessive fear because there would be no calming voices in the background of our hearing.

I shared her thoughts with friends at times. Frozen looks, and no response were the norm. I did not mind, her fixation was never ordinary. Often it took a leap in thinking to get to her level. I was okay with it.

Melancholy MemoriesLove and relationships were out of the question. Taboo to put it mildly. She had lost any normal feelings of love and family, thirty years ago. We traded letters and talked in person when I was in town, and over the phone for almost thirty-five years. “I love you”, was never once uttered.

Anything tribal, Native American, or low IQ people were off limits. This was the domain of the ‘nuts’ part of Lana. I would listen to her berate, lament, and attack these groups of people for what would seem hours. Then she would get it out of her system, and she would return to almost normal.

I was able to share many parts of my private life, and my private thoughts with Lana when she was connected with the idea that her brother was on the other end of the phone. I think that was the greatest thing about having a Sister whose connection with reality was fragile.

Lana was a steel trap about my innermost thoughts. Nothing I told Lana in three decades ever went from Lana to another person. All my secrets were safe with Lana. I could express my fear, frustrations, and occasionally my warped thinking with her. Lana would take each utterance of mine, dissect it, rehash it, and find some value in it for me, unless it infringed on one of her taboo topics. When I infringed on a taboo area, the phone would end shortly.

I would wonder what I was giving Lana, that she needed in return for her listening to me. After some years, it became obvious we were different sides of the same coin. I listened to Lana and she listened to me. For Lana it was enough of a connection, probably the only one she could make. For me, Lana was my repository of thoughts that would never really see the light of day.

Lana spent most of her adult life seeing counselors in one form or another. Maybe she took on that role when it was my turn to create conversation. Maybe she was really interested in what I had to say.

There are parts of all of us that should never see the light of day for various reasons. They need to remain in the cracks and crevices of our mind. I know now, how fortunate I was to have a sister like Lana. She did not mind that I too had a side of me that was not public I could share with her. Maybe we kept each balanced.