Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Sacred Valley
Last month we commemorated the year anniversary of the passing of my sister Jocie. It was a sad day, but mostly it was happy. As with most of these events, the anticipation is usually much worse than the day itself; I dealt with most of my demons earlier in the week. It was happy because my family made it to the one year mark, changed people, but we made it. I found the aftermath of "Jocie's accident" as my mother calls it, strange and hollow initially but now that's come to be normal. It's become normal to have an even boy/girl ratio in my family, normal to watch my parents cry, normal to have a nagging feeling when we're together that someone isn't there. Because she isn't. But even that is becoming normal. A depressing normal, but one that we need to come to terms with nonetheless.
I feel obligated in some ways to talk about these things because it's good for me, but also because I know that there are people out there suffering with loss in all of its forms; whether it's loss of a sister, friend, pet, or just a lost dream; regardless I think that the only way to get through these unthinkably difficult times is to reach out to our friends and family and to let them help shoulder the burden when we have become broken under its weight.
Unbelievably, not all that has come out of this accident is sorrowful. Most notably, my relationship with my sister Dione has changed in ways I never would have imagined before. We've always been like oil and water, as different in personalities as we are in looks, though most wouldn't realize it because we act the same in public. Now we have no choice, we have to make it work. I was sick a couple of weeks ago and Bob was out of town; Dione heard from my mother and dropped everything, driving through a blinding snowstorm to sit up the night with me before leaving early the next morning to make it to her classes. I know that we loved each other before, but I don't think that either of us would have made such a sacrifice, such a gesture. Now we appreciate our relationship; we've both lost a sister.
We've had one hell of a year, but we're still here. The relationships that weathered the storm are stronger now than ever. We are more honest, less willing to play games, and we end our conversations with "I love you." You never know when you're not going to be able to say it again.
I still have days where I can't breathe because I miss her so much, but those are spreading further and further apart, and mostly I just think about how great she was and how much I miss having her around. I don't think that I will ever stop missing her, or mourning her. I don't think there's any way to "return to normal," but there is a way to move forward. I also don't think I'll ever fully resolve the 'why' of such a senseless tradgedy, at least not in this life. But I've come to terms with that, most days anyway.
If you're ever struggling with loss or grief or know someone who is and would like to help them, I'd love to be there for you like so many people were for me. I'd love to earn the mitzvah.