It has been 6 1/2 years since you’ve been gone. Today would have been your 35th birthday. That sounds so old! And yet, I am ever older, always the big sister.
At the beginning, memories of you came crashing in, beautiful, but angry as I was angry.
Today, they are gentler, but no less vivid. You are no less colorful, no less a part of my story. You just play a different role.
For about six years, I seemed destined to focus on loss for the remainder of “my” life. I was deeply, deeply unhappy. It is a mystery how one can experience profound joy and yet remain sad. That is, and was, my experience, since you died. I have given birth to two incredible children. Your nephews! They provide me hours (and hours, and hours…) of entertainment and education, and give me great cause for humility. Parenting is among those experiences that you will not have an opportunity to intimately understand, though you, as a child and young adult, were parented.
You know those t-shirts, the ones that say “Life is Good”? I hated those t-shirts after you died. Their simple and yet powerful message made me feel so empty and resentful, each and every time I saw them. How dare those happy people brag about how great things were going for them?
Mom used to wear those t-shirts.
Liz, since you left us, I’ve spent a great deal of time focused on regret and missed opportunity, on all the things that you did not do, and never will do, such as hold your own baby in your arms moments after they join us in the world. The senselessness of your death consumed me, to the point where my own experience of Life began to unravel.
In the past six months, my vision has shifted somewhat. I rise at dawn to run on some days. I sleep in on others. I’ve begun to draw upon a source of energy that is all my own. There is a sense of hope, of opportunity.
A smile has returned to my eyes.
I remain sad about losing you, Liz. I miss you each and every moment of every day.
However, I have reclaimed my place in the world. Each of us has to do so in order to truly live. Men, women, children, toddlers, even babies. We all contribute. We all err. We start anew.
I don’t know what you would say today if you were here among us, in the living world. But I know that death doesn’t destroy love. It only heightens the experience.
Please continue to be a greeter of angels, my sister. I will see you again someday.
Linking this post to Lovelinks #35, a special way to reach out to others