I thought of you today. Every single day since you’ve been gone, to be truthful. It’s been 9,393 since that bright sunny day in July, a month before your twentieth birthday when the brain tumors swallowed you whole.
I imagine what you may say to me, or even about me, if you were here today. Would you be proud of the little girl, the sister who was left behind, that has grown up into a woman? I’m a wife and a mother now of four precious children, and still a faithful daughter to the parents we once shared but now belong solely to me — the default only child.
I imagine that I would have called you today. A get-together for lunch maybe; no need for a real celebration of this new-fangled silly holiday: Siblings Day.
Truthfully though, it’s not so silly to me. I fact, I desperately want to buy into it. I wonder if anyone was fooled today by my bright smile. My eyes tell it all; a mirror to grief that overwhelms my very soul. Especially today. Could it be the holiday that’s propelling me down the rabbit hole of sadness? I don’t think so, yet it may have been the tipping point; the final straw that pushed my sorrow to the forefront.
It came welling up inside me today, as I stood watching while my non verbal two-year-old son flung himself to the ground. He broke into tears, crying in his own frustration.
I watched him, helplessly at first; and then I took his frustration on as my own. My sorrow for him stretched out for my sorrow for you, the sadness almost too much to bear.
I ache to hear your voice again. It rings in my ears still, the way you laughed, said my name, teased our mother. I long to hear it aloud today especially; not just in the recesses of my mind that plays tricks on me and my grief for you. The familiar darkness beckons me towards the dangerous grief that gives rise to sobs that shake the body and leave me exhausted and in need of sleep. The grief that is not shrouded in hope and fond memories.
If I am to survive, I can not allow myself to succumb to it. If I am to honor you, then I will acknowledge the breaking of my heart and challenge the sting of death. I choose to accept the gift of joy that prevails, even when it does not really feel that way. I can still pretend; and after the tears flow, the weeping that is far from graceful retreats and I can again say your name without sounding strangled.
I miss you always and especially today. I would do it all over again, being your little sister was the greatest joy I have ever known, and as I said to the room full of people on the day of your funeral, “I’m glad you gave me a brother, God.”