December 22, 2014
I did what I promised her I wouldn’t.
But, please, let me explain.
Friday was the first anniversary of my sister’s death. I had talked to my parents the day before and they planned to take my other siblings plus my sister’s husband out for dinner to all be together. Friday evening I saw on FB some comments begun by my Mom’s post about the difficulty of the day. It occurred to me then that, for me, Friday had not been a more difficult day than the previous 364 days had been. When I talked to my Mom about that on Sunday, she said it was hard due to her not being able to be at the funeral. And I get that. I really do. My Mom instigated, planned, and organized that funeral. That she could not go was devastating – for everyone!
On December 1st every year, one of our local radio stations begins playing Christmas tunes. The same 10 songs over and over again for 25 straight days (at least, that’s how it seems to me)! Every once-in-awhile I push the button to see what comes out … if I hear Jingle Bells or Let it Snow one more time, I think I’ll go home and stuff myself with fruitcake until I push my body into a diabetic coma. Seriously? To save myself from Christmas Song Burnout (this is a real and documented condition, trust me), I wait until Christmas week to begin listening to Christmas songs in earnest. There are a couple of songs I downloaded for free from NoiseTrade last year that I hadn’t really listened to yet, so I was looking forward to some fresh tunes. I get in my car to come to work, plug in the i-pod, select Christmas genre, and hit shuffle. “Could’ve Been Summer” was the second song to come out of my speakers.
I was doing so well, too. Yes, I felt sad whenever I thought about calling you (every day), but today the grief felt like a fresh floodgate that demanded opening. That entire last week came flooding in, uninvited. The memory of you saying my name felt like a tender punch in the gut. Through the tears I kept thinking, “I’m sorry. I told you I wouldn’t remember you that way, but I can’t help it.” So I did remember, all of it, then I made myself remember other things. Christmas things. How you adored Christmas. You didn’t always make the gifts you gave, but you always made the packages look so inviting that yours were the only ones anyone wanted to open. Your decorations were tasteful and stylish and different every year. You understood the beauty of nature over the glare of commercial glitter and always managed to incorporate natural beauty into your boxes and bows, wreaths and mantlepieces. Everything you ever did was a work of art, and you the most beautiful of them all.
It occurred to me to remind Mom that she may have missed the funeral, but she was there when you went home. She was able to whisper encouragement and hold your hand and say goodbye in that agonizing moment. I’m so glad for that. Though I could not be there on December 19, 2013 to say the final goodbye, I am thankful for the week I was given the month before – every painful, horrible, gut-wrenching, sweet, precious, lovely moment. I am thankful for the many years we had together – phone calls, holidays, Birthdays, anniversary surprises, moushie jokes, Mah-Nuh, Mah-Nuh, all the love and sweat and tears and joy. I remember it all. I remember you. And even though it “Could Have Been Summer” when you left, I doubt that would have made this Christmas any easier.
Kisses, kisses, kisses, HUG!
LOVE you, Ditty-Boo – bunches and bunches and tons and tons!
– Your Little Sis