Grief Has no Timeline: 13 Years Later

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irving


The night my sister was killed, I went into her room after coming home from the hospital, partly out of habit, and partly because I was in disbelief and riddled with a pain I couldn’t adequately express. One of the first things I saw was her stuffed animal Woofles that she had had since she was a child. She had gotten me my own Woofles in the form of a different stuffed dog when I was three, and yes I still had him. That night I grabbed Woofles and he was a small source of comfort as I sobbed my heart out. It might sound silly, but by holding that stuffed animal, I felt I was holding just a small part of my sister.

13 Years later

13 years later he is still providing me comfort.

I can not believe it has been 13 years. And yet, I also can. I have said it before and I will say it again, time does not heal wounds. It just teaches you how to handle them. And in many ways it teaches you how to hide the pain, which in our society abhorrence for not dealing with shit, is both necessary and brutal. Yes it has been 13 years, but in those 13 years not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Some days are better, some days are worse. Just like some years are. This year, especially, I have missed my partner in crime. With everything that has gone on with my Dad and my Mom and I having to deal with it, her loss is felt even more. Because I know if she was alive she would be here with me. And we would be sharing this burden. For her, much like me, family is everything. It is something that she and I out of our five siblings shared and believed in the most. She was my rock, much like I was hers.

Some years, I feel like I can find eloquent words to write and pen not just a tribute to her, but also adequately sum up what this journey has been like for us, but especially me. Other years, like this one, I just feel numb with everything that has happened and it is a further reminder of all that we have gone through without her. All that she has missed. All that she IS missing. As much as our society likes to benchmark years in the fives and tens, year five, and ten, and fifteen aren’t magically harder because that is what has been dictated. Random years like four or nine, or this year, year thirteen, are just as difficult, and sometimes more so.

“Now I know, there’s No, such thing, as enough time..”

Because, time has no meaning when it comes to grief. I am reminded of the song, by Kimberly Perry which is a sequel of sorts to If I Die Young, which coincidentally came out only a couple months before my sister died. You feel it whether it is a day, a year or twenty. You feel it at the most inopportune moments. Watching a movie, a whiff of a scent, life moments, even the happier ones like little one’s being born, or the darker one’s when a loved one has to go through life saving surgery. It can be a song on a radio, (thank you boy bands) or the simple act of getting coffee where they use to get it. A day, a year, twenty, it still hits you. The only difference is you get better at hiding it, at being able to pull yourself together quicker, but the hole in your heart, the hope in my heart is still there, deeply scarred over, but still there.

When my father went into the hospital a couple weeks ago, the first thing I did was bring Woofles with me. He in many ways is like a safety blanket. He has been through it all when my sister hasn’t been. I brought him with me to New York, he came back to New Hampshire, survived a pandemic and then back to New York. My nieces and goddaughter who my sister never got to meet, love to play with him when they visit. And he has provided comfort when I have been incredibly sick and dealing with health issues. 13 years later he is still providing comfort. He is a memory’s sweet memory of my sister, but he can never replace her. No one can.

That is why grief hurts so deeply. It is love. Love of a person, and a relationship and memories we have cultivated over time, sometimes for decades. We are all unique and no one can EVER replace those that are taken from us, because of that uniqueness. As much as I love my other sister, she will never be Jacquie, we don’t even have the close relationship and connections, inside jokes, that Jacquie and I had. It doesn’t mean it is wrong or bad, but Jacquie was Jacquie. There was and only ever can be one of her. It isn’t like a dog you can go out and replace the next day. You can not replace a human. And that is why time does not erase the wounds, or grief. It stays with you forever.

The day my sister died, I had bought her coffee. While I only drank Starbucks, she only drank Dunkin Donuts, and pumpkin spice had just come out. I of course bought her one, and it was still sitting on the table when we came back from the hospital. Thirteen years later, I was forced to drink Dunkin because of my Dad being in the hospital. After weeks of him being there, I had not found a drink I liked, and decided to try their pumpkin spice. Friends, I took two sips and couldn’t drink it. It was disgusting!

As offended as I was, by what they called “Pumpkin spice,” I knew my sister was up there laughing her ass off at my coffee plight. Because that is just who she was. 13 years and I still miss you tremendously Sugar. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because grief is love, and that last forever.  Love and miss you Sugar. <3


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