Grief is a tricky beast. Which is one of the reasons why I rarely write about it here. Although perhaps it is time to change that because I'm realizing I still have so much work to do with it all; a never ending battle of faith and endurance. It can feel like the loneliest experience ever. At least, my journey with it has been many times over the last eight years since my sister passed on. I know there are many factors that have complicated that whole part of my life, such as the fact it was unexpected, and that she was not simply my only sister, but my only sibling. I don't have any brothers or sisters to talk to about their own path of healing and finding pockets of peace. My parents always had each other as guides for how to navigate that particular agony of losing a child; but it was me, myself and I when it came to the anguish of maneuvering sibling tragedy.
A few days ago, covered in tears, I finished up Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir, The Rules of Inheritance. Countless times throughout the book I would catch myself appreciating her way of capturing facets of loss that I've spent a long time examining myself. Her story of trudging through losing both of her parents during her twenties is one I would definitely recommend to anyone who has experienced tremendous loss.
Snippets of my favorite memories of my sister include riding in my green Jetta, singing Hanson songs as loud as our voices would carry, while the wind danced through our hair. Losing her is a huge factor as to why I'm such a photo capturing freak these days. After someone leaves, photos account for so much. I don't know if you can ever truly get this until you've been through it.
This quote from The Rules of Inheritance struck me. I love it. It sums it all up. I love what I've got right now. I love what I've had. 15 years with my sister was absolutely stunning, but oh I ache for more. Life can be brutal how one minute someone can be right in front of you, venting about math homework, and then the next day, they are gone forever.
I'm drawn to grief memoirs because I like to absorb how other people do it. How you pick up the aftermath of your life when a giant grenade goes off right in the middle, taking most of your heart with it. I'm learning there are about a million different recipes to survive it. The resiliency of human kind is one of my favorite things about this crazy ride.
Some days I feel her presence so strongly, I talk to her often and write her letters. I see pieces of her in Sookie's fierce attitude and passionate stubbornness. I thank her for sending Rory my way. I keep her wild child spirit alive by sprinkling in a few purple eyelash extensions amongst my black ones, planning my next tattoo, and craving baby pink streaks in my mane. That is all here and it is powerful. But I can still daydream about what she would be doing now with her story, and what I would give to be able to hold her close one more time.