A love letter to my sister

Dear Liz,

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

17 thoughts on “A love letter to my sister

  1. patty says:

    Beautifully written, Sara.

  2. Joy says:

    No it doesn’t destroy love! Amen!

  3. Becky says:

    You are so strong…and inspiring as always.

  4. Mary Kate says:

    thank you.

  5. Mom says:

    So beautiful, so loving…….

  6. Wendy says:

    WOW!! So Beautiful

  7. Maria says:

    You’ve expressed so eloquently the journey our hearts and minds take when a loved one has died. Thank you for putting into words what I have not been able to and for sharing your feelings. I especially was touched with the statement about reclaiming your place in the world-it is a revelation that being sad about a profound loss can coexist with joy and hope, adding a new dimension to one’s capacity of embrace life. Peace of mind comes by taking small steps. Hugs to all…Maria

  8. Bridget says:

    I miss her and think about her on a regular basis. Mostly I am laughing at some childhood memory. Most likely involving High Point pool.

  9. Sweet, heartfelt post. Thank you for writing this.

  10. themomalog says:

    I know your sister was looking over your shoulder reading your beautiful words while you wrote that piece. It’s a beautiful testament to her life, and yours. I lost my little sister many years ago and I still feel her presence right beside me, all the time. She’s never far from my heart. I’ve gotten on with my life but I have never, ever stopped missing her. This is a beautiful tribute to your sis.

  11. January says:

    Wonderful, heartfelt, beautifully written. I imagine she’s smiling down on you right now. And very proud.

  12. What a beautiful post. The anger at the beginning so stark, and the touch of relief at the end was so optimistic.

  13. […] this day a year ago, I wrote this love letter to my middle […]

  14. […] Tomorrow’s intention will be healing.  […]

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