Monday, October 14, 2013

It's been a year now, since you were here now and I've been trying to heal inside

A letter to my sister:

     No matter what words I use to try to express how much ache the loss of you leaves me with, none of them really seem like they can ever properly express it. 

     Every single day, at least one thing reminds me of you. At work, it's often Betty Boop or cupcake themed items. Those are everywhere these days, it seems and I always think your name as I look at them. I even found a Betty Boop necklace once where she is sitting on a cupcake. It was shortly after you went away and still had to remind myself that you wouldn't see the text I wanted to send you about it.

     Your phone number is still in my contacts because I can't bring myself to delete it. I decided that when I stop having to remind myself that you're gone, and I stop scrolling to your name with the intention of sending you a message about something that reminds me of you or us or some memory we shared, then I would be ready to take it out. That moment hasn't come yet. Without fail, I get to your name before I remember and I sadly shut the phone back off. 

     I realized not long ago that I really don't know how to continue processing the grief at this point. I mean, some days are easier than others. If I have a lot happening and plenty to keep me busy, I can distract myself. Even then, however, you're never far from my thoughts. Last month, my graduating class had our ten year high school reunion and some of the songs that were played brought up memories of you and I as kids. I felt sad and I wished I could call you right then. 

     Sometimes, I think the grieving process is a little weird and I feel like I'm doing it wrong. I've said goodbyes to friends, family, beloved pets... and it's never felt as horribly wrong and painful as this does. I find myself feeling like getting through each day is something I have to talk myself through by promising my brain that if it can get through today without you, it will be the last day I have to do it. It's not a logical or even accurate thought but sometimes, it feels like having you taken away is some kind of cruel test that we all have to pass. It feels like I want to say, "Okay. It's been a year and we barely made it through but we DID... so, it's time for her to come back and for everything to better again."

     It's not rational to feel that way. It's not rational to tell myself that I made it through this day, or month, or year now, and it will be okay tomorrow. It won't be. Each day is just one of the days I'll have to keep facing without you. This is just one year that has gone by of who knows how many I will have to face without you. It's not rational, but it's the only thoughts helping me along right now.

     I think about your babies all the time and your parents share pictures of them with me on Facebook. I have no idea what I believe in as far as the possibility of an afterlife, Beck, but I hope wherever you are, you see them. Hinata especially looks more like you every time I see a picture. They are growing up so fast and the stories and pictures I get to hear about and see of them remind me so much of you.

     I think... No. I KNOW those kids are a big part of what gets me through every day that I can't talk to you. The boys miss you like crazy and they will have memories of you that they will be able to share with their sister as she grows up. What breaks my heart though, is that she won't ever get to know you. Not really. What she will get, though, and so will the boys, is every single memory I have. I want them to know as much about you as I can give them and it feels like it's what I am supposed to do. It's not something I feel like I HAVE to do. I want to and I just mean that giving them every part of you I can give them just feels... right.

     It's not okay that I got more years with you than they did. I hate the universe for that. I remember how elated you were for every single one of them as each was born, and they should have got to have you so much longer. I know they'll grow up to be wonderful people, because they are extremely amazing kids. That's not a concern. They may be the luckiest kids in the world in that they are surrounded by SO many people that love them. It's not fair, though, that on the other side of the coin, they had the person who is supposed to guide them, love them, support them, teach them, reprimand them and help them find their own path swooped from their life. 

It just makes me so fucking angry! 

     Then there are your parents. I talk to your mom here and there. I call or I message her on facebook and we chat a bit. The first time we talked after we lost you, she mom-yelled at me and it makes me smile to remember. I told her how guilty I felt, and admittedly continue to feel, for not visiting sooner. I told you so many times that I wanted to visit. We made plans for "down the road" and it just seemed like we never found the right time. She told me that I should remember that you didn't make any trips up here either and I am not allowed to feel bad for that and that we always thought there would be plenty of time. 

     I guess that's why I feel so guilty, still. We all know that death could take us any time and we shouldn't assume that there will always BE time. I did though. I didn't find time to visit. It was never because I didn't love you, or because I didn't miss you, though. I just truly thought there would always be time down the road to figure it out. I figured we would watch your kids grow up and we'd grow old together. There was supposed to be so much more time... 

     Your dad is on Facebook a lot now. He and my dad have been in touch a while and they are often arguing with my dad's friends about politics. I really should learn just to stay out of it and let them argue but I find myself feeling the need to defend your dad if someone is, in my opinion, too harsh towards him. He's a grown man and doesn't need my defending and when it comes to politics, we don't agree at all. I guess, though, because it's your dad and I grew up with your parents being my other parents, I have this sense of protectiveness with them. I think a lot of it is, you're not here to 'watch out' for him, so I feel like I should. I have no idea if it's the right thing to do or if I'm just doing it because it feels like I should, but it's put me in some arguments, for sure, heh. 

     I guess the next thing I could tell you about has to do with my relationship-y stuff. The last time we really talked about it, I was still head over heels for someone that I can barely stand to hear mentioned by name these days.
There is someone else in my life, I care about him more than I could ever express and I absolutely HATE that I can't call you to tell you all about him. 

     The really messed up part is how the loss of you factors in to all of those feelings. The person I thought would always be there for me left me to grieve alone when I lost you and couldn't be bothered to offer me the slightest condolence, let alone actually support me. Instead, a better man, one of my dearest friends, stepped up. I don't know what the future holds for us but everything he did and continues to do for me has guaranteed him my support, love and loyalty as a best friend for the rest of his life. 

     I admit, a lot of the moments I miss you the most are probably really selfish ones. I want to tell you about him. I want to go to you when I argue with another friend and need to vent. I want to tell you all of the good things in my life and then listen to you tell me about yours. I want to vent all of the crazy and frustrating difficulties and then listen to you talk about yours.

     I don't know how to handle this, Beck. For eighteen years, you were there and always with the right thing to say. Sometimes, it was just being able to talk to you at all and knowing that you knew me better than anyone else. For eighteen years, we told each other the most important things in our heads and hearts and stood by each other.

     Those years took forever to go by and made our friendship that much stronger. Eighteen long years of love and respect... and I have barely survived a single year without you. How in the HELL am I supposed to cope with any more? Some days, I have no idea how I got through them at all, and now I'm forced to keep doing it?

     ONE year was enough. One year without you has been complete and total hell and I feel like it was a punishment I have more than paid my dues for. We all have. Every holiday, every birthday, every anniversary, and every average damn day when every single one of us missed you so much, it made our chests tighten and ache. 

     I truly have no idea how any of us can be expected to keep this up when it continues to feel harder instead of easier. The longer the world keeps spinning without you, the harder it gets for my head to stop spinning with it. 

     I guess I'm still in the bargaining stage of grief because as long as it keeps feeling this hard, I'll continue telling myself, "If you get through today, it's the last day you'll have to do this," and hope that sooner rather than later, that becomes true.

     The other day, I watched an episode of Glee where they were saying goodbyes to a character they were forced to kill off after the actor playing him overdosed. They were playing all these goodbye songs, and each one was getting harder and harder to hear. Then, they got to a character singing, "If I Die Young." I lost it. I started sobbing and couldn't stop. I couldn't breathe. It felt like the day I learned you were gone all over again.

     Maybe this wouldn't be so hard if I didn't feel like I was grieving alone. I know I'm not. I'm not the only one who lost you. Your parents lost their daughter. Your brothers lost their sister. Your kids lost their mom. Your friends are all missing their friend. Your husband lost his wife. The thing is, they're all around each other. Most of them live close together and have each other to lean on. If not, they at least have someone else they were close enough to that they have someone to talk to and lean on.

     I don't. I don't have anybody, at least it doesn't feel like I do. Most of my memories with you were just of the two of us and it makes me feel really alone in that I can't reminisce about those memories with anyone else. They don't know the stories. I'm trying to think on those moments are something that I will always have just between me and you, but things still feel so fresh, it's hard to smile about some of it. 

     I know I am going to spend the rest of my life missing you. I guess this first year is just learning that the world is going to keep spinning even when someone amazing leaves it. I guess I'm being taught that I can survive even though it feels like it kills me to keep going sometimes. 

     I just hope you know that I will never forget you. I will never stop missing you and most importantly, I will always love you. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

An angel got her wings and we'll hold our heads up, knowing that she's fine

Half of a year. Half of a year. 
I just keep thinking that over and over and wondering how it's possible that time keeps moving like nothing happened. 

Half of a year ago, on a Monday like today, you were taken away. Your birthday was only thirteen days away but you didn't get to celebrate it. I don't know how much time we're all supposed to take to grieve,  but for me, it never feels like enough. I don't know how it's supposed to take before I can bring myself to take your number out of my phone. I don't know how long it's supposed to take before I stop thinking that I should send you a message about something that reminded me of one of our memories, then remember that you can't laugh about it with me anymore. I don't know how long it's supposed to take before all of the songs that remind me of you stop making me cry.

I don't think there will ever come a time where you don't cross my mind several times a day. I don't think there will ever come a time when I don't wish you were here to share an experience with me. I don't think there will ever come a time when, on your birthday, I won't look at your picture, close my eyes and think of you. I don't think there will ever come a time when, on my birthday, I won't spend the day wishing that every phone call was the one that always came in from  you. 

Repeatedly over the course of the past six months, I have found myself wanting to tell you about things that have happened in my life. I have wanted to go to you for advice. I have wanted to ask you how you are and listen to you talk about the things you needed to talk about. I have watched television shows or read books that I know you loved and wanted to talk to you about them. I have remembered stories from when we were just kids and wanted to reminisce with you.

The difference in six months ago and now is that I don't remember first thing when I open my eyes that you are gone and struggle to make myself get out of bed. I don't have to avoid making eye-contact with people anymore, or avoid hugs because they would trigger uncontrollable sobbing. I can smile again and I can laugh again. I can enjoy time with the people I love again. I can say that you died out-loud now without struggling to actually say the words.

I find that there are even more little things that make me think of you than there were before you died. It seems that there are Betty Boop or Cupcake things everywhere, from pajamas to necklaces. Those use to cause me to get a tightness in my chest and a lump in my throat. Now, I smile at them, albeit sadly. I don't think I would be able to do any of that if it weren't for the fact that I see you in my dreams from time to time. I am extremely grateful for those dreams each and every time.

Half a year later, I am grateful that I have talked to your mom on the phone. She has pictures of us from that big Halloween/Birthday party that year that I didn't know existed. I can't wait to see them when I visit this summer. I am grateful that your dad leaves you messages that everyone can see every week, talking about your kids and your family and how much he misses you. It feels easier to keep on when I know we are all grieving together, but all appreciating everything about you as we watch the person you were in your children. I'm grateful that I get to meet them this year, finally, though I regret every single day that it has taken me this long.

I am grateful for Eddie, and Courtney, and Debra and Shan, and knowing that, even if brief moments of conversation, we have been able to help each other through this. 

Mostly, though, on this Monday, six months after the Monday that tore you away from us, that I got to have a sister for seventeen and a half years.

In memory of you today, there are a few songs that will remind me of you for the rest of my life. I'm posting them here for myself, for you, and for others who love you. 

Our Song..the one that we used to send to each other in the most difficult times.. Garth Brooks, A Friend to Me.

Well you and I
We're buddies
And we've been since we first met
Me and you
Well we've sure been through
Our share of laughter and regret

Lord knows we've had our bad days
And more than once we've disagreed
But you've always been a friend to me

You can be so stubborn
There's times I think you just like to fight
And I hope and pray
I live to see a day
When you say I might be right

And there's times I'd rather kill you
Than listen to your honesty
But you've always been a friend to me

You've always been
Time and again
The one to take my hand
And show to me it's okay to be
Just the way I am
With no apology

Oh you've always been
And you will 'til God knows when
Yes you've always been a friend to me
The Band Perry, If I Die Young. This song really seemed to encompass the loss of someone so beautiful.


If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn,
Send me away on the words of a love song

Lord, make me a rainbow,
I'll shine down on my mother, 
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors.
Oh, and life ain't always what you think it ought to be, 
No, ain't even grey, but she buries her baby.
The sharp knife ofa  short life.
Well, I've had just enough time

If I die  young, bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses.
Sink me in the river at dawn.
Send me away with the words of a love song.
The sharp knife of a short life. 
Well, I've had just enough time.

And I'll be wearing white, 
when I come into your Kingdom
I'm as green as the ring on my little cold finger. 
Well, I've never known the loving of a man, 
but it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand.
There's a boy here in town, 
says he'll love me forever. 
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life?
Well, I had just enough time.

So put on your best, boys, and I'll wear my pearls
What I never did is done.
A penny for my thoughts, oh no, 
I'll sell em' for a dollar.
They're worth so much more after I'm a goner
and maybe then, you'll hear the words I been singin'
Funny, when you're dead how people start listenin'

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Oh, the ballad of a dove.
Go with peace and love.
Gather up your tears, 
keep em' in your pocket. 
Save them for a time when you're really gonna need them, oh,
The sharp knife of a short life. 
Well, I've had just enough time.

So put on your best, boys, and I'll wear my pearls...

This next one was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. I love listening to Bayside sing it because the way they did this song just feels as sad as I feel about missing you. It's called Winter. I changed all of the he's in the song to she's...

When Winter falls 
Next year, I'll be holding on
To anything nailed down
As for being patient, with fate and all, it's getting old. 
And my mind is slowly changing
I'm calling all my oldest friends,
Saying "sorry for this mess we're in,"
And I'm waiting, waiting
For the Sun to come and melt this snow,
wash away the pain, and give me back control, control.

An angel got her wings, 
And we'll hold our heads up knowing that she's fine.
We'd all be lucky to have a love like that in a lifetime.

Should we still set her plate?
Should we still save her chair?
Should we still buy her gifts?
And if we don't, did we not care?
It makes you think about the life you've led,
Shit you've done, things you've said.
And it's grounding, grounding.
I've been feeling three feet tall this month,
hardly indestructible.
But the snow melts, and the rhythm still goes on.

An angel got her wings, 
And we'll hold our heads up knowing that she's fine.
We'd all be lucky to have a love like that in a lifetime.

Friends stay side by side,
In life and death you've always stole my heart,
You'll always mean so much to me, it's hard to believe this

These nights in vans,
These nights in bars,
Don't mean a thing with empty hearts, with empty hearts.

An angel got her wings, 
And we'll hold our heads up knowing that she's fine.
We'd all be lucky to have a love like that in a lifetime.

Friends stay side by side,
In life and death you've always stole my heart,
You've always meant so much to me, it's hard to believe
So much to me, it's hard to believe
So much to me, it's hard to believe this.

Six months. Half a year ago. Where does the time go?

I miss you every single day, sis, and I love you.