“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” ~ Anne Lamb
Life is forever continuing. Whether we are saying we want it to slow down as we watch kids grow or hosting and/or attend a fun event that we don’t want to end to quickly, or a season that speeds by (looking at you summer). Or it is the exact opposite when it does feel like life is moving at a snails pace. Life just keeps on trekking. That is what it has done the past twelve years. Heck, somedays it is hard to believe it has been twelve years and yet at the same time in that cylinder vortex of duality it feels like it happened just yesterday. It has been twelve years of learning, of highs and lows, sometimes really REALLY low lows, and really high highs.
Life does in fact continue, however slow or fast, or sometimes it is just neutral, it keeps ticking, and as humans, regardless of what it throws at us, including traumatic events and tragedies, we are forced to continue right along with it. It doesn’t mean we forget, or that the pain dissipates because it doesn’t. Not ever, really. It stays with us, forever, a chunk of our heart torn out and scarred back over. We learn to, as the queen said, carry-on, we go forward, as we have too, because life does go on. And in some ways perhaps grief is the ultimate life lesson. It is something no matter how hard we try to escape it, we will experience at some point in our life, and probably multiple times. And if we are lucky it won’t happen until we are older, and we have time to prepare. It won’t be dramatic or soul shattering, but then can we ever prepare ourselves to lose our loved ones? Do we even want too?
It has been 12 years since the police came to the door with the news I was never going to see my sister alive. She was never going to come bouncing (and she did bounce, for the self proclaimed introvert she said she was, we ALL knew when she walked into a room) in through the door, throw her stuff everywhere (which drove my Mom crazy) and go “Can you believe this?” and then go into what was nothing short of an oration on the days events, of which she had very strong opinions and we were all going to know what they were. She would even tease me and say “I know you feel the same way,” but I was more quiet, and also a tad more diplomatic then she was.
But her lack of diplomacy was what made Sugar my biggest champion. She would tease me, but no one else could. She was a shoot from the hip, you always know where you stood with her and what she believed in. She was a fierce advocate of her family and close friends and no one had better mess with any of them or you would have to deal with her. She gave the best hugs, though she would refute that and say I did, (Hands down she won) and was always down for a dance party to some nineties boyband. (thus hers and my nickname and my tattoos) despite the age difference she truly was my partner in crime and best friend. The person I would go to for everything, for guidance, a vent sess, a laugh sess, dance parties, advice and so much more. And while I was younger, she always respected my opinions and advice, I wasn’t just her little sister but an actual person.
Twelve years and I still miss her fiercely. Time hasn’t taken that away. If anything it only makes it more apparent that I have a scar on my heart. It has been 12 years of new memories created without my sister, new babies, and family members, graduations, weddings, milestones she wasn’t here to bear witness too. Just the simple act of calling her up and asking her advice about moving, or careers, or her opinion on friends or boyfriends, just even hearing her laugh, it has been twelve years of missing her and learning how to manage the pain. Learning how to cope, how to function, how to find some sort of new normal, how to find a wholeness, how to come to terms, how to do so may things, but mostly how to live. Grief never EVER goes away. It doesn’t. Because grief is love. And to love is a gift, and to grieve makes us appreciate life so much more because we understand how fleeting it is.
My Guardian Angel
Grief is the price we pay for love And I don’t know about anyone else, but I am willing to pay it. And pay it again. Because as much as the pain sucks, having a world without love, without those special bonds, sucks even more. Life is a risk. Everything we do has pros and cons, and risk, so why not open our hearts? Why not take the chance? Even if we know the end result is pain, it is worth it. Because love is always worth it, and death does not ever destroy that, or erase it.
This anniversary especially reminds me of that, after the events of last week when I found myself as a passenger, in the middle of my first (and hopefully last) eight car pile-up on the Garden State Parkway. Thankfully, I and everyone else in the car were okay, and we were one of only two cars able to actually drive away from the scene (though our car was damaged, especially on my side). I know my sister, as well as other relatives who are now angels, were looking down on us and protecting us. I could just hear her saying, Sprout, what the heck? It is NOT your time. And it wasn’t. It is a reminder we don’t get a say when it is. While I will never understand why it was hers at just twenty-five, and at times, even now, I still struggle with that question of why her? Why not me? I know she is looking down on me, on all of us, and while not physically here anymore, she continues to be the big sister and guardian angel she always was and had been since I was born.
Grief is an endless journey, that if we are lucky to have those deep bonds of love, will be a journey we are on our entire life. It doesn’t dissipate with time, only the knowing how to navigate those finicky emotions that will pop up and sometimes at the most inopportune times. To go through grief is the price we pay for love and I would do it all over again if I had too. Because love is worth the pain. My sister is worth that pain, and the smiles too. Because it is up to us to keep their memories and legacy alive and to honor them by living when they can not. And to not do so would almost hurt more.
Love and miss you Sugar thank you for looking down on me and protecting me always. <3