Ya know when you are having a crappy couple of days and then you realize that there is a logical explanation for why you feel so bad? I had that light bulb revelation last night when I realized that today would have been my sister's 45th birthday. I thought to myself, "Ah ha! That's why my heart feels like it has been run over by a truck." It's not like I forgot that May 1st is her birthday, it's definitely been looming, but I often try to push from my mind the fact that she is gone. It makes it easier to go through my days without actually thinking about it because when I think about it, it is real and the hole that her absence has left in my heart seems to widen.
In some ways it is easier for me to push aside the fact that she is gone because I don't have any memories of her in my home or town. It makes me sad that she was never able to see the house we built or all the beautiful property we have. Unlike my other sister's and parents, I have no memories of her walking in my front door or sitting in my kitchen because my home didn't exist until after she was taken from us. It makes me sad and angry that I didn't get to share this part of my life with her but it does make it easier on me. It's a blessing and a curse.
This day is hard for a different reason than the anniversary of her death because this day is the day my mom gave birth to my sister. My mom doesn't talk about it and I don't push but every year, I feel like I should say something to her, something that might make it a little easier for my mom but I can never find the right words. I stay silent on this day. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that my mom must feel, the overwhelming sadness that must overwhelm her when she thinks back to my sister's birth, her childhood, her youth. My parent's dreams for her future and the realization of those dreams and then the reality that it was all taken away. Stripped from them in a matter of seconds when they were told of her death. My own pain is hard enough to bare, I cannot imagine theirs.
As I continue through my journey of IF the fact that my mother lost her child is at the forefront of my mind. My mourning used to revolve around MY pain. The pain of losing my sister and best friend. Now, it revolves more around the loss my mom feels, the loss of my sister as my mother's child.
I've been trying to push through my work day when all I really want to do is go get back in bed. I texted one of my sisters and asked her, "Are we supposed to be happy or sad on this day?" I never know. Are we supposed to celebrate because she was born or mourn because she isn't here to be pissed off that she would be 45 today? My sister freaked on her 30th birthday, I cannot imagine how freaked out she would be by being 45! I'd give anything to know.
On this day, I would like to share the story of the dragonfly, which inspired me to get this tattoo in my sister's honor:
The Story of the Dragonfly is a children's story about death. I read it two days after my sister died and it just felt right and true.
Once upon a time, there was little pond filled with beautiful lily pads. In the pond lived a little beetle. The beetle lived with a large community of water beetles; his mother and father, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends.
Most of the time, the water beetles lived a happy, idyllic life. But occasionally, one of the beetles would climb the stem of the lily pad and never be seen again. The water beetles grieved their fellow water beetle, knowing their friend was dead and gone forever.
One day, the little beetle decided to climb the lily pad stem himself. He wanted to discover what was on the other side and come back to tell the rest what he had found. He was determined he would return after his exploration above.
And so he climbed and climbed and climbed. When he finally reached the top of the lily pad, he fell fast asleep, exhausted from his journey.
The little beetle slept a long time and when he woke up, his body changed. He had beautiful blue wings and a long blue tail. He wasn’t a beetle anymore. He was a magnificent dragonfly.
The dragonfly stretched out his broad wings and rose above the water. He discovered a whole new world with beauty beyond his imagining. The sun was so bright and the sky was so blue. He could hardly believe this new world on the other side of the lily pad, so close to him and yet he never knew it existed.
Then he remembered his promise to return to tell his fellow beetles what was on the other side of the lily pad. They would be so happy to hear the good news. He wanted desperately to go back to tell them this incredible news, but his new body wasn’t designed to swim in the water any more. He wondered if they would even recognize him if he returned.
He realized someday each one of his friends would have the courage to take this same journey, making the long climb up the stem of the lily pad. Then they would understand too.
The little dragonfly missed his old friends, but he knew they would join him someday. And he flew off in great joy.