Jun 19, 2013

Two Years, Today

Two years ago today my sister died. She and I did not always get along, but I loved her. And now I miss her.

It has not been an easy anniversary for me. Not that any of them are easy, but some are better than others. Emotionally speaking, I am particularly feeling the loss this year. I oftentimes try to speculate on why I feel the way I do, but this time, I think I will simply allow myself to feel. I will trust that it is what my body and mind need right now.

I have a three-year-old daughter. Watching her grow up, and experiencing the ups and downs of being a first-time mother has been difficult without the guidance of my mom and the support of my sister. It was when I became pregnant that my sister and I began talking on a more regular basis, calling each other about once a week. I did not ask her for parenting advice, but I enjoyed sharing stories about my daughter's growth, the embarrassing moments that come with inexperience, and the adorable outfits my sister was eager to see pictures of my daughter wearing. My sister sent a small box of clothing and a few accessories for my daughter before she was born. I've kept every piece, no matter how stained or tattered some of them may be.

It is not easy to feel this deep sense of loss, this ache in my heart, every single day. It is not easy to try to grieve, to try to take care of myself, and to feel so lonely while also trying to be a loving, compassionate, present stay-at-home mom. It is not easy to wonder and worry about whether I will live past the age of my mom when she died (53) or my sister (46). I've laid awake at night being able to imagine the anguish my sister endured knowing that she was not going to see her own daughters grow into adulthood. The panic that follows is indescribable. My sister had a lot of strength in accepting that reality.

I wish that I could say that with the passage of time things get easier. They only change. Life goes on, and you learn to incorporate the experiences you've had into a new normal. With the death of my sister, there are important lessons I've learned, ones that are different than those I learned after my mom died. And they are lessons that I am grateful for. Despite the positives, though, every moment in my life is reflected under the mirror of loss. Every new experience I have is underlined by an emptiness that directs how I choose what to do and how I move forward. I relish each day that I get to be alive, and I wish sometimes for an escape from the pain. It seems I can only get through each day through accepting contradiction and a flux of moods.

My daily life hasn't changed all that much since my sister died. We lived in different states, and we had different priorities. The biggest difference has been the missing phone calls. But I feel a void where the relationship between my sister and I existed. It's a relationship that exists in the past now, one that I wish could have been different in some ways, but that I felt was about as good as it could be, given the gap in our ages and upbringings.

I remember my sister for the good that was in her. She was devoted to her family, she was funny, and she was a determined woman. My heart aches for my loss. And it aches for her's.

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