First collection of memories about my sister Sarah. Forever loved and always missed.
|I don't even know where to start, or restart? I think it was five months ago my upgrade lapsed. I don't really have a good sense of time right now. I never meant to let it go so long.
I really thought I knew what pain was. I've been through some things as everyone has if we're lucky to live long enough. Losing my sister, Sarah, unexpectedly has utterly decimated me emotionally. All of my family. She was only 38. I've spent most of my life trying to be stoic about my feelings but this pain is so vast that the only way to survive it is to let it out.
The only way I can describe this feeling is that when we were notified I started screaming inside and it never stops. 12-11-2018, 3:00 PM For me that's the day where the world went wrong. I know it's never going to be right again. Not for any of us.
I can't say much of anything about the circumstances but it's also impossible to not talk and write about her. Sarah was my lodestar. My hero big sister. I would lay down and die without a second thought to bring her back but life isn't prone to fairness.
I have an irresistible compulsion to write about her. Our memories. The nature of her profession was quiet inherently but I refuse to live in a world that doesn't remember her. As long as I live I will keep her memory alive through any and every means.
December 27, 2018 at 1:43 PM
This was the first and only Christmas I've ever had without my sister. Every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day has felt like a lead weight where my heart is supposed to be. But. Every time I think of her it's her smile and her laugh I remember. I have been so lucky to have two older sisters who have taken care of me my whole life. Nothing will ever come between us. Not time, or distance, or even death. We are part of one another and absolutely nothing can take that from us. This was my first Christmas without my sister but she's still with me.
December 29, 2018 at 7:56 PM
It's hard to talk about my sister but I want to. She could fly, you know. Literally fly. I remember watching her out the back window doing front and back flips. You can bet your buttons I wanted to do that too but I was lucky to manage a cartwheel. She could fly. She saw her star in the sky and she chased it without fear or doubt. And always I chased after her. My sister was a star, she was the wind. Always I was at her heels. Chasing her laughter and her smiling eyes.
December 31, 2018 at 4:59 PM
A new day, in a new year, that will be the first of the rest of my life.
I am not grateful. Maybe I should find solace in all the love and caring between us all especially in loss. But I cannot be glad of it. I cannot find peace, or acceptance, or joy here. I'll try because while I've always coined my card the fool there felt like there was a wisdom in it. Maybe there was.
The fool is the one who is brave or silly enough to dance on cliff edges. They'll chase joys and sorrows the same regardless of the risks. They find laughter in tears and cry of laughter. That's their nature. Absolute truths, whether wanted or no, they find their way past unsure lips and through the tips of cramped fingers. Hands clasped against saying heavy or irreverent things.
I've worn a ring for well over a decade. A silver band inscribed with the word forever. Forever didn't last very long and every year the inscription wears thinner. One day forever won't even be a smudge of memory on a silver band.
The most important things will stay. Those marks people make on the heart of you, good or ill, they stay. They aren't inscriptions that wear away. Unlike a burnished band of silver that every day loses it's edges and refinement. A thousand looks and laughs, that look that said everything without a word, a touch that spoke volumes. Words never said, but shown, will carry all the weight of the world.
While my world is tilted, untidy, unkind I don't forget that it was once right. That rightness is not gone but sleeping in memories and stories I haven't told. But if there is kindness left I will find the words to tell the stories that defined better times.
January 4 at 11:42 PM
Last night I got caught in a dream that was a dream within a dream. Over and over I went places I've only known in sleep. Each time I told myself 'This isn't right!' and tried to wake up without waking. A dream that was both here nor there. Places I've been and yet never seen. My dreams are all the worlds I've never gone and the worlds I wish to remember. I've flown here. Over forests or through the streets of neon and stone. I've mourned here. With a clenched jaw and tasted tears of flavored smoke. So many loves, distant and as loving as the moon. But here I linger, loving you.
January 5 at 6:04 PM
My sister and I sat under the whispers of the banana leaves and the palm fronds, chasing silver, in the breeze. They sounded like rain dancing under the clear star struck sky and the waning face of the moon. California air carried the scent of jasmine and persimmons ripening in the dark. But there was no darkness here.
Here are two sisters. Under the stars they've both loved all their lives. Talking about nonsense, talking about the things that have twisted their hearts out of shape. Two sisters with a lifetime ahead. Secrets passed like a cup of wine back and forth, though we both preferred more poignant drinks. We laughed at ourselves and one another.
The fear of being alone was so far. So far away. There was never a night beyond this one. No nights beyond this clarion bell of a California night. Full of flowers, laughter, tears, and sometimes a distant chant of a group of hare krishnas that could care less it was in the a.m.
Two sisters, one a little sun kissed the other sable and sapphires. So we laughed under the fading echos of hummingbird wings. Never knowing how prophetic their erratic hearbeat was.
January 10, 2019 - 5:54 P.M.
I didn't play dress up with my sisters when I was a kid. They were both grown up by the time I wanted to frolic in a princess dress. Did I sometimes wear their dance costumes when they weren't looking so I could feel pretty too? Definitely.
Wandering the pearl strand of Ventura Boulevard, so many years later, I finally got to play dress up with my sister Sarah. We stopped at every gilded boutique window. Mile after mile of a sun warm sidewalks ahead of us. Not everyone gets to see someone turn into a princess, in a sapphire dress three shades darker than her eyes.
But she didn't leave me behind. She never did. My not-so-adventurous heart had to race to keep up.
We had our makeup done, we dressed to the nines, we went to the L.A. Music Awards with a glint in our eyes and twin smiles. Smiles that ended up cheshire when a reporter mistook us for performers that night. Two sisters, just playing dress up in a star spangled city.
Three little girls. All growing up together. Each of us a few years apart but never far.
January 11, 2019 - 3:12 P.M.
Today my sister Sarah was laid to rest. I think a part of each of us went with her. When I'm not crying I find it both sad and comforting that it's snowing. It reminds me of us making snowmen at Gramma's or that time we went ice skating in Minnesota. Well, Sarah skated and was kind enough to push me across the ice and back. When we were knee highs we used to take mom's bread pans to make snow bricks so we could make forts in the yard. Or after she left for college I'd curl up in her bed during a good snow to read books by the window. I know she'll always be a part of me but I also know this isn't a wound that heals. It's just one you have to learn to live with. Maybe one day I'll laugh a little more and cry a little less.
I love you so much Sarah.
January 16, 2019 - 5:53 P.M.
Were we ever that young?
I was a sun soaked eighteen year old and like the vast majority of eighteen year old girls, I knew everything worth knowing. But I didn't know that my twenty-two year old sister was still in the heart of her youth. The moment she was behind the wheel of a car, a little black jeep named Mary, she might as well of had wings.
Crossing the country was never a burden or a trial for Sarah. Every trip was just another adventure. While I was still knocking my knees in fright at driving in this or that city she was making her way from coast to coast. Whether she wanted to see the sea, or a musical in New York, or sunny California. She always found her way. Even when she got where she was going it was only the beginning.
We'd go driving. L.A. at night feels a little like flying. Maybe a little like being in an ocean. So many stars, so many lights. On a road that never seems to end. I think there's a line of poetry in standing on the shore of an ocean that swallows the sun. Maybe I'll write it some day.
What do young women go chasing under starry light slicked skies? Not a single nefarious thing. Sometimes we'd just drive. Just one street leading to another, sometimes we'd find good food along the way. One night we went and had burgers at the HiBoy where we met a graffiti artist in the early a.m. and talked for hours. Stranger, friend, a single memory.
One night we spent nearly three hours to find a place that was serving pie. Clearly it wasn't really the pie we were after. My sister, a friend, and myself. Dark and light spangled roads we'd never seen before and will never see again. Conversation that carried on and changed as naturally as the wind. I can hardly remember a word of it but I know I'll never forget a second of it.
January 17, 2019
I won't pretend my sisters and I had some sort of miraculous good natured relationship all along. Oh no. There were times we fought like three cranky cats locked in a box. But there was nothing ill natured in it. At this stage of life I think we all looked back at our tussles with a good laugh.
One of my favorites, now, was when Sarah and I were living in St. Cloud together. Most of the family has some form of OCD. Mine became more pronounced after my brain injury, oddly enough. But Sarah had it in spades from day one.
When she was an elderly fourteen her room was all in red, black, and white. Every item, every piece of furniture. I actually have this extremely creepy clown music box from that room. One of the many things I ran off with of hers. Funny enough, my other sister also bought me a creepy clown music box so now I have two. Sometimes they start playing all by themselves. Nothing says I love you like a creepy clown music box that starts playing itself in a dark room.
Sarah would iron her allowance. Not kidding. Every dollar she had was crisp and neatly rolled. Yes, I knew where she hid her allowance. No. I never stole a penny. Being the little sister I just felt like a sneaky pro knowing where it was at.
So we were living alone in St. Cloud. I am not an especially messy person. I lose my damn mind if there are dirty dishes in the kitchen or if people have clutter in public spaces. I had that before and it's become more pronounced with age.
I left two items on the counter. A cadbury egg, I have a bit of an addiction, and a blue butterfly magnet my mom gave me. Both of which I meant to take to my room. Except.
I came back from either classes or being social and found them both in the trashcan. -_- How does an uppity younger sister p0wn the OCD over-reaction? She dumps the entire trashcan in the middle of the floor, takes her stuff, and leaves the rest for her OCD sister. XD
Listen, this was just two thoughtless cranky sisters butting heads. I stopped being mad within a day or two and likewise. I doubt she was even thinking about it when she did it. Her beautiful mind was normally preoccupied with more complex things than her little sister's fridge magnet. Me, I just have a temper.
I can't think about it without smiling. I don't know where that magnet is, though I'd love to find it, but I have a lifetime of laughter over the situation. Wouldn't trade our brand of cranky for anything.
January 19, 2019 , 4:20 P.M.
My sister's hands.
When I first started taking college classes for art I had an incredible, classically trained instructor named Goffredo. One of our major projects for figure drawing was to do copies of the classics. Saints, angels, lords and ladies, we drew them in pieces. Their eyes, their ears, their hands.
My sister had what I've always called 'Saint's Hands'. No, I am not saying she was a saint. I am saying she had long, slender, beautiful hands. And she used them well.
Those hands held me before I could stand, before I even knew her name. Those hands made beautiful art. In seventh or eight grade she drew a self portrait so flawless that I grew up thinking "I want to do that!" Even when I was furious with her, as kid sisters always are, I was endlessly proud of her.
Those hands made ceramics so fine only a machine could have done better. I remember her hands cracked, dry, and bleeding from working so hard at it. Her hands taught me what it was to work at and believe in something.
My sister's hands. A daughter, a granddaughter, a sister. A mother's hands.
It will never stop breaking our hearts that we'll never touch her hands again. But her hands will touch every part of our lives. Every moment of every day from now until always.
January 24, 2019 , 8:41 P.M.
How long had it been? A year, two? I don't remember.
What I remember was bouncing on my toes while I watched the arriving gate looking for the ever familiar silhouette of my sister. All those clinical gray corridors and that bad fluorescent lighting. I can't say it took forever but it felt like it.
Finally. FINALLY. My sister came through the gate.
I did NOT recognize her at first. When she left for boot camp she was my big sister. The woman who came back to visit was both someone else and the best version of herself. Tall, sure, proud. Beautiful and brave.
Her smile broke my heart.
I think this will always be how I'll think of her. Her walking down a lit corridor and my rushing to hold onto her. It was like realizing I'd forgotten how to breathe until I saw her again.
February 05, 2019 , 5:57 P.M.
How often we forget the average moments. The moments that pass almost in an expected blur like white noise when we're focused, like the sound of rain when we're reading. It's like saying 'I love you' as a reflex and not because you're feeling it that moment. Can you remember a moment when someone said 'I love you' and you didn't really notice because you were distracted by something?
We're reflexive because of the assumption that there's always later. There's tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll tell them just how much I love them. Tomorrow I'll do something special. Then the little demands of life like errands or obligations, that you're not even that obligated to, take your attention. Dishes need to be done, trash taken out, bills paid. All of which, I promise you, will be there tomorrow.
I didn't send Sarah a Christmas card last year. Not from lazy or even distraction. I wanted to send it with some jewelry for her little girls. She knew that, I had to ask if the girls had pierced ears. When I found the addressed and unsent card this year the only comfort I had is that she knew I loved her and the girls. That I just wanted to send something more special than not.
I'll never have a chance to send her anything again.
I'm going to write that Christmas card. I'm going to keep it as one of the most painful reminders of my life. That I didn't pause to put someone I loved most first. That I let forgettable and irrelevant chores and demands make me forget the only thing that matters in the long and short of our lives. The people we love.
So take the time to pause. The next time you tell someone goodbye and that you love them, pause and feel it. The next time you feel like sending someone off with an angry words, pause, it might be the last words. All the things you want to say and you find every reason not to, say it. Tell your friends you love them, say thank you for the good and sometimes the bad. Laugh, cry, and be there with the people that matter. Stop waiting for the perfect moment or the best reason.
You are here. This is the time to hit play on your life and relationships. Stop stopping, stop cruising. Make the mundane moments as magical as they are meant to be.
Is it better to have loved and lost?
If you'd asked me last year it would have been a resounding hell no. No. The gains of my love never outstripped my losses. I gave a lot and got just enough to keep trying. To the point where I won't even have an interpersonal relationship anymore. Done, done and done.
Look at me skipping the oxford comma.
You may or may not know that I'm a surviving twin. I'm half of a whole that never was. And you can bet your buttons it's haunted me a little through the years. All that loneliness as a kid, being a loner and never feeling like I was part of things. There was a whole different life WE should have lived.
But that's not how life works.
Ask me now. Ask me if it was better to have loved and lost. Yes.
I would not be the person I am. I would not be kind, or fearless, or even a little brave without my sister Sarah. I would never have been that shoulder to cry on without her taking care of me as a knee high. We wouldn't have worn fairy wings, or combat boots, or glitter in public if she hadn't shown me how whole a person can be without someone else's approval. Every time I throw on my panda hat as a grown ass adult I think about her. I know she'd love it.
I am afraid. I am afraid of living the rest of this life without her. We had forever until we didn't.
I feel guilty that there are times where the pain ebbs. I know she'd approve, honestly, I can hear her cracking jokes about me getting my sht together. She would want me to work, to paint, to live.
I'm an atheist but GOD she LIVED. My sister didn't play at life. Never. She LIVED. She would drive across the country at a pin drop. I watched that woman bungee jump 0_0 She was a forward on a rugby team and she may have broken a bone or two... not her own. She wore what she wanted, said what she thought.
Those who weren't close to her saw her as crazy smart and polite. They never got to share the laughter, they didn't know how kind she was. At her core she was a person that took care of her people. Especially me. She didn't have to you know. I might have been her kid sister but she was four years older, she didn't have to keep an eye on me. She always did. I have gray hairs and she was still keeping an eye on me.
Yes. It was better to have loved. That time she told me to separate wax for candle making, she meant it as a joke but I spent hours separating itty bitty bits of wax by color. She thought it was hilarious. Or the time she rightfully yelled at me for putting too many coffee grounds into our two cup coffee pot. I didn't know! We always made coffee like it was an industrial necessity..... Or the time I got this atrocious dragon movie, not even b it was more of a d, because I thought it was the awesome one but we sat through it anyway making jokes.
Yes. I would go through this pain over and over again as long as it meant she was part of my life. I miss you Sarah. So much. I promise I'll keep you with me always and I will speak your name in all the ways I can.
Love. It's all we have in the end.
03-10-2019 : 2:29pm
Love is often like a private conversation between two people. A give and take of good and bad moments that no one else is a part of. There are times where the conversation devolves either to dissolution or a friendly distance. Both of which offer some kind of closure.
Losing Sarah feels like we were singing a duet. Her voice was certainly the strongest, the brightest. I've never minded being a background singer for my loved ones. Suddenly my voice is the only one left for this particular song. The one between her and I.
I have a hard time being the only voice to tell 'our' stories. Here I believed we'd have a lifetime to tell each other the same stories over and over again. That's how it should be. Two old ladies sitting on a porch somewhere reminding each other of all the wonderful and terrible things we got up to 'during the good ol' days'.
One small comfort is that even the worst days were the best. We'd found that place that some siblings do where no matter how awful we were, it was a little bit funny. I try to remember how lucky were we to find that joyful space between us.
When a star is gone their light can shine for someone's forever. That's how I choose to survive this. I choose to celebrate Sarah and all of the light she brought into the world. One word at a time.--
There's a part of me that doesn't want to share Sarah. All those moments that mean so much were always between us. But I don't want to live in a world that doesn't remember her either.
I lived with her when I was round-a-bout fifteen or sixteen which would have only made her nineteen or twenty. What twenty year old would voluntarily babysit their little sister? Sarah. I don't know why she loved me as much as she did but she loved me enough to put up with teenage me. That was a tall order.
We were in a basement apartment with two very large rain forest chameleons , Guy and Crayola. Guy lived in my room and Sarah often let him out of his cage in the morning so I'd be woken up by a foot long chameleon crawling over my face. I loved those dinosaurs.
I have so many memories in that apartment.
My favorite however;
Sarah was always the brightest crayon in the box. She was taking some crazy high level math course. It's not that I'm not math friendly but when the equation has almost every letter of the alphabet and a few letters you don't recognize it's definitely a little above my reading level.
She still wanted me to help her study for this Einstein class.
I can't remember the season but the sun was that diffused honey color that only shines somewhere between Autumn and Spring. In a basement apartment we had those high set windows that let the light flow over everything. That's the feeling that sticks to my skin, the warmth of it.
Sarah had given me flash cards to quiz her. None of which I could really read. In fact, I'd argue it was almost mathematical pictionary. She was so excited, the test was only a few hours away and this was the last cram session.
And this is what I remember. My sister jumping on her own bed to get hyped up. Gilded by that beautiful honey sun, laughing at her little sister trying to read math. We laughed until we cried.
As sisters we fought, we ranted at each other, we definitely laughed at each other! All those tears between us. Whether they were from anger, pain, or joy. All those tears are the tide on the shore I stand on.
Sometimes I see all that sunlight that dances like the light on a dragonfly's wing. Sometimes the light drains away and all I can see is that gray and lonely horizon. The space where the sun should be shining.
But there's always a bit of laughter on the wind to remind me that clouds will eventually pass and the sun will rise.
I remember this one day. You know how childhood memories are often this warm blur of good and bad memories. You can remember fighting or loving one another.
When I was five -ish, maybe a little younger a tornado ripped though our neighborhood. Mom, yes I'm looking at you!, kept going upstairs to get things or check on things. Pretty much caused a lifelong nightmare about tornadoes. When "Twister" came out in the 90's it was already my worst nightmare ever.
But this was a light thunderstorm. Blue clouds, sunlight breaking through every which way. I was only eight or nine and Sarah was twelve or thirteen. We danced in the rain.
Every puddle was worth jumping in. And the rain was warm. No lighting and we laughed and danced and pranced in every puddle. It was beautiful.
Give me this day back. Give me my laughing sister in the endless rain. Raindrops in the sun, two little girls laughing. Bare feet, bug bites, and that fearless joy.