To sweet Zeke and all the beautiful babies that left this world too early – this post is dedicated. In honor of The Golden Sky book launch to take place tomorrow, November 18th, an amazing Blogfest is sweeping the blogosphere today. Posts will be plentiful, offering reviews of the book or paying tribute to loved ones lost. Be sure to check all the other fabulous posts among the many participating blogs and visit The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom for a chance to win an iPad2, $500 cash and more! This is mine…
As I watched the line progress slowly down the aisle, each person taking great care in placing a flower on Kristi’s memorial cross, I thought of simpler times. Happier times. When we were little and she was still alive. We shouldn’t have all been gathered there to mourn someone so young and so full of life. She wasn’t ready to go. She had plans. She was going to make something of herself. And yet…
There are things we don’t always understand. I don’t know if I will ever understand. But sitting in her room those few days before her service, thumbing through her journal of poems, they began to read as a story. And I got the feeling that she knew. Knew that her time was coming to an end. But could she have known? Was that possible? Or had I read them all wrong?
The rain came down in droves, buckets pouring from heaven as it flooded the streets and curbsides. Fast moving rivers, just the right size to wash away your little Chihuahua, ran beside us in the gutter as Kristi and I made our daily trek to school. I always loved the rain.
We joked about the speed and height at which the water moved, fantasizing about riding in little umbrella boats down the water stream. All we had to do was flip those puppies over and we’d be good to go! Like something out of a Disney movie. Only we were kids, not animated mice.
We had plenty of time to talk on our walks to school back then. It wasn’t just around the corner after all, since we didn’t attend the local public school. It was the beginning of junior high for me, still elementary for her, and it was a time before she began resenting me for my advice. Before she needed to make her own mistakes and own discoveries. This is how we started our days, every day for three and a half years. Although, there wasn’t always rain.
These are the kinds of memories I cling to when I think back to time spent with my sister. Fun times when we were little or sometimes swapping them for the beautiful ones made when we were older and more mature. The post-college years.
Kristi had come out of adversity and blossomed like a butterfly. She reached for her dreams in a manner that was so filled with light, so free spirited it was inspiring. Honestly, at the time, it scared me. But only because I was afraid to step off the path, out of my comfort zone, and travel into the unknown. Not her. She packed up her car and hit the road, blazing a trail all the way up to Northern California where she found what she was looking for – a place that felt like home. Destination – a special film school. In no time she was the camera operator for the NBC News affiliate in Eureka, CA where she then resided. Her life was looking up. She simply glowed with new found ambition and happiness. So where did it all go wrong?
Some say she was simply too caught up in conversation to notice the curve in the road. That she couldn’t handle the steering when the car tires lost traction on the dirt – the rest being history. I know better. I know the truth. But it doesn’t matter. There’s been enough pain and suffering. And it’s time for all the suffering to end – for everyone. There’s no going back, and no changing the past. Things happen.
I thought I understood love and loss before that day. I had been no stranger to its touch. I’ve lost many people near and dear to me over time. But this loss – this one cut more deeply than any that had come before it. It was if someone had reached right through my chest and ripped open a big gaping hole. One that felt impossible to heal. I could hardly breathe. Fate had touched my family and my beautiful sister had been spirited away, no longer free to walk among the living. Kristi may have been the one who died, but it felt as if our love for her was dragging us into that black hole with her.
All I wanted was to sleep all the pain away. But it doesn’t work that way, does it? Working through the sorrow and loss is part of a necessary journey to the intended person we are to become. A process, I sadly admit, I put off for a few years. Oh sure, I did the initial grieving thing. But I never completed the journey. The one that would bring me to that place of inner peace – leave me okay with the way things turned out. I had yet to be guided down that path.
You see, death can be painful for those left behind, and sometimes a few of us deal with it, putting the pain neatly away and plastering a smile across our face while telling the world everything is fine… when deep down it’s not. But it could be, and it will be. And in the end, we will be stronger individuals – for ourselves and the people around us.
My sister may have left this world fourteen years ago, but it would not be the only time I would lose her. I had a journey to take – a path of grief to follow, one of which I had skipped lightly around in the year after her passing. It was this same year that my muse became active. Flooding my head with stories, and while I lightly entertained them I made no serious move to do anything about them. Not until they started yelling at me a decade later! I guess they didn’t take lightly to being ignored. Talking to me every waking moment, giving me no peace at any time of the day or night.
So, putting pen to paper my manuscripts began to take on life and my journey of grief began. I started to feel something I had not felt in years and it encouraged me to continue on. The words and story flowed with undeniable strength and Kristi’s presence filled the room as I wrote. So intense was the soul of my story and the characters breaking through that one of them actually captured the essence of my sister, pulling her into my manuscript where she then came alive as Crystia, a player, in my ongoing trilogy.
It is through Crystia that I have traveled my path of grief and found my place of tranquility. And it is through her that I will once again lose Kristi when I put the story to bed when it is finally completed. Only this time it will be different. There will be peace and understanding in the loss. And I will always have that part of her with me, on the pages of my manuscript – published or not. Until then, I will savor every minute.
This post is dedicated to my dear departed sister Kristi, and to all those who have been lost and who have lost someone they loved. Blessed be you all.