“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ~ Mark Twain
You always remember the before and after. What your life was like before, and what it was like after. Three years out, it is crazy to believe where I am now, and where I was before. How much has changed, and yet how much is missing.
Dualities are crazy and can literally drive you insane. We live in a world of them though.
And sometimes it is hard to get past them. To not mark your life in dualities. Of before and after.
Anniversaries, birthdays, they all have a tendency of doing that, of dictating that before and after. How did I feel when I was twenty-two and now at twenty-three. Past and present.
But somehow no matter how hard you try, the past will creep up. Like it has in the past few weeks, as I approached the three year anniversary of the worst day of my life.
Days like today you can’t help, but wonder the what ifs, and reflect. Both on the good and the bad.
My life was forever changed that day. The way, I think, live, eat, talk, relate, everything has been changed. I could view it as bad, or I could choose to focus on the good.
I know you are thinking how can there possibly be good? No it isn’t my polly anna personality. It is truth. There is always going to be good and bad, even in the worst of circumstances. It is what you do afterwards that determines whether it is bad or not. And whether you let yourself honor those who can’t live, by living yourself.
I know many things I did afterwards were bad, but then I also had done bad things before my sister died too. Death does not suddenly make you good or bad, but it does make you grow.
And over the three years I have.
I think that growth, is the hardest part of all of this. Because she isn’t here to see it.
I know it is bittersweet to think I wouldn’t be here if she was still alive, but I also know that the way this universe works, I would get here eventually, it might just be a different path.
That is what life is a path of choices, good, bad, opportunities, those taken and those missed. It is up to us to determine what we want from them.
It might be silly to think, but in the weeks before Jacquie died I was given a gift. She and I spent a lot of time together, and even discussed things that I hadn’t told anyone. She encouraged me in ways that inspired me to make that very impulsive and so not like my character move to Manhattan (because Brooklyn would have been a lot easier, and oh yeah, cheaper) only sixteen months after she died, much to my families chagrin and thinking I had gone postal….Which I probably had.
We didn’t realize it then, but I know now it was the universes way of gifting me those last memories. Conversations I have kept in my heart, and movies I still can’t bare to watch, but maybe someday. (nothing against The Social Network or The Town, Sorry Ben) Signs that no matter, what she will be with me. And she is.
There have been many times I have felt guilty, about being here, she had asked me to go running with her, and I had said no, I was to tired. But guilt only lasts so much. Saying, what ifs, only works for so long. You can stay in that negative mind set, or start living, and she out of everyone I know would want me to live.
As heartbreaking it is, things happen the way they are suppose to, whether you believe it is the universe conspiring, God’s master plan, or just alien’s brainwashing us (how I have no idea, Star War’s Death Star?) you can follow the path or fight it.
It doesn’t mean the path will be easy, that it was MADE easy. Lord knows, I came to NY for a yoga teacher training and treatment for an eating disorder, but didn’t have enough pennies to buy carrot sticks. (oh the irony) but those struggles make us who we are. No one ever promised it would be easy. No one ever said there wouldn’t be heartbreak.
Because that isn’t life. And as great as a utopian world would be, we would never grow and learn and improve as a society. And sometimes it seems damn frustrating (case in point, the impaired driver is still out on the streets and can drive in two years after having multiple accidents and THEN finally killing someone, oh the justice system) but then it is up to us to change. To make the world better.
My sister was a strong advocate of that. Growing up, I used to bulk the establishment (okay my parents) so to speak. My oldest sister was into volunteering at schools and church, and Jacquie volunteered in anything and everything and ended up being a social worker, before heading to officer training school (boot camp?) l so she could work in VA hospitals. Me? I just wanted to be one of the boys. Fast forward ten years and the irony is I am a yoga instructor wanting to help kids who have eating disorders, addiction and other traumas. Again the irony is not lost on me.
Would I be like this if she had lived? I don’t know, maybe, when I was older and more mature and in twenty years.
But tragedy makes you grow up sooner. That is one thing Shakespeare always failed to mention in all his plays. How the players felt afterwards. What did Romeo and Juliet’s families think AFTER.
We don’t have crystal balls that dictate where we will be in ten years, twenty years. At any given moment the road we are on, can be shut down for construction, or just totally be decimated all together.
But it is up to us to turn that into lemonade, or let it get sour and fermented making us bitter.
I have put aside the what ifs, because living in the past does nothing, you can’t pause on that road, or you will never get anywhere, and as easy as it is to go back, it is never possible.
But I do constantly wonder, if I make her proud. I do wonder what she would think. It isn’t what ifs, it is just the simple pain of a younger sister craving the approval of her older sister, whether on this earth or up in the clouds. And no matter what fifty years from now, at my wedding, at the birth or adoption of my children, I know I will think of her smile, and hear her call me Sprout, and wonder.
And maybe it is that wonder that kills me the most now. Not the what ifs, not even the might have beens but the being in the moment of what could have beens After all It is up to us to not live in the past or the future but in the moment. Be present now.
Having known her, I like to think she is looking down with a shitty little grin, thinking she is being the conductor of my life. And maybe she is.
Because she was that special.
And that influentual.
And even three years later, she still has the biggest place in my heart, filled not just with tears now, but wisdom and most importantly laughter.
Heaven got an amazing angel three years ago, and as much as it hurts, I can completely understand why God wanted her back, or if you believe in yogi philosophy, my sister had achieved her higher self.
I am so honored to have known her and to continue to carry her in my heart, and as much as I cry, and days like today are tough, it is also filled with so much laughter because that is the way she would have wanted it.
Life is bumpy, but thanks to my big sis, I at least know how to laugh, and carry extra lipgloss, and if I do cry, where water proof mascara.
I love you always Sugar. Thanks for being my guide not just on this lovely earth, but also my guardian angel in heaven. And for showing me their is beauty even in the breaking of our hearts. And the triumph is even greater.
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