Golden Sky and a Sister Remembered

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.

(Weird – but at 2:09 I swear it almost looks like Kristi looking out at you from the video)

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.

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to organize your everyday and leave your mind open to the fantastical.
This entry was posted in Blogfest, Dealing with Loss, Tribute and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Golden Sky and a Sister Remembered

  1. AG says:

    Oh Miss Debra, how beautiful…my heart aches for your loss, for the loss of your sister. I can’t imagine losing a sibling…I hope you know how beautiful, absolutely touching and amazing this tribute is for her. I’m sure she’s your muse, whispering stories in your ear. Thank you for sharing.

  2. That is a beautiful tribute to your sister, Debra. I just can’t imagine being that close to your sister and then losing her. My sister and I are fairly close and, while I sometimes want to wring her neck, I’m almost always grateful to have her in my life. Well, we are siblings and there’s this law that most people aren’t aware of that states you can’t get along all the time.

    Seriously though…Kristi was a beautiful young woman and it’s so sad that she’s no longer in your lives. But it’s wonderful that you’re finding a way to heal from the loss now.

  3. Beautiful, Debra. I’m sure that wasn’t easy to write. Thank you.

  4. I lost my brother. It sucks, doesn’t it? Beautiful post, my dear.

  5. mgmillerbooks says:

    So poignant, Debra. I saw right into your heart, and it’s a beautiful place, where your sister always resides.

  6. timlobrien says:

    Very moving and so heartfelt and honest. I’m sure it’s very difficult to touch such personal feelings with words.

  7. Debra Kristi says:

    Thank you AG, Steve and Mike for your beautiful words. I am truly moved Mike. Steve, you have no idea. I wrote and scrapped so many versions of this before landing on this one you just read. Wow. AG, you may be right. I think Kristi may have been the one whispering in my ear that saved me from scrapping yet another draft the other night.

    Kristy – thank you for taking the time to come here so early in the day. You lost a child. My heart bleeds for you. I will never try to compare my loss to that one like your own.

    Christine, honey, I know. It does suck. If he was anything like you, he was a wonderful person with a big heart. We should celebrate his life when his birthday rolls around.

  8. artistlynne says:

    Beautifully written, bittersweet, tragic, hopeful, comforting, healing, enlightening – so many emotions to feel. You have come through this journey and with Kristi beside you (always in spirit) have found a new and wonderful passion. I am so excited and proud of you. I may have lost one beautiful daughter in the physical sense but I am delighting in the journey my other beautiful daughter is traveling. xoxoxo

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I thought I left this for you earlier today mom. I’m sorry if I didn’t hit the post button. I’ve been a little on the tired side. You know I was thinking of you. Your support means the world to me and I’m thrilled to have you as my #1 fan.❤❤❤

  9. God, Debra. This post was tough to read, and I’m sure it was a hundred times harder to write. I’m sorry you lost your sister. Kristi lives on in your writing, and it’s fitting you incorporated her name into your pen name.

  10. Oh, Debra, you made me cry. Your words are a beautiful tribute to your sister and the relationship you shared. If only we could go back and relive those moments. Thank goodness for our memories of the loved ones we have lost. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt story. 🙂

  11. Elisa says:

    This is so well done. “Kristi’s presence filled the room as I wrote.” I love this–and in my own way, I feel like I know what you mean.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Elisa! Thank you so much. I’m sure if anyone can get it, you can. Your vlog from this morning is still sticking with me even now missy. Touched my heart the way you wore yours on your sleeve. You’re a beautiful person. I wish the absolute best for your book launch tomorrow!

  12. Oh Debra, I knew your feelings ran deep. You are no superficial girl. No siree.

    I bet that felt good to write this post. And it was a privilege to read it.

    One of the things I think we’re blessed with is the capability of memory. Oh for some it might be a nightmare. But for most of us it is really a gift. And we can keep those memories close to our hearts. Our dear loved ones can live on in our memories and we can take much comfort in that.

    Thank you for sharing one of the most treasured of your memories. And thank you Debra for all of your visits, comments and support! 🙂

  13. Monica says:

    She was beautiful! I am sure she’s smiling down on you.

  14. Angie Z. says:

    Lovely post. Beautiful and so painful to read. I love my only sibling, my brother, something fierce. Yet I didn’t really understand the powerful sibling bond until my two children got to the ages they are now. Watching them play and even fight together, it makes my heart ache when I think of siblings torn apart. For my job, I recently listened in on a foster care youth panel and the part that choked me up, I turn into a mushbucket just talking about it, was hearing of siblings being adopted into different families, seeing each other only once a year or not at all. One of them said she even missed fighting with her little sister. What an awful hole this must’ve left in your life. I can’t imagine how hard to have to go through your still young life without her. I’m so very sorry for your loss but am grateful you are a talented writer who can tell these stories so well.

  15. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Debra, I’m so sorry you lost your sister. She was beautiful. This is such a touching tribute. Can’t help be tear up reading this. I’m so glad your writing helped you deal with your grief and that Kristi inspired your character. I bet your story is awesome because a piece of your and your sister’s in it and you tapped into that love and the bond between you. Wow. I’ll be thinking about this for a while.
    Beautiful post.

  16. Debra Kristi says:

    I am so moved by all your words! Thank you so much. Pat and Sheila, I am going to take the fact that my post was difficult to read and it moved you to tears as I good thing this time around – given the subject matter. This one didn’t come as easily as the one I posted on Saturday. But I think that’s because of the gravity of this one, I had to dig deeper. There were more layers involved.

    Karen – You have honored me with such a compliment. Funny thing memory, they are all there waiting for us for when we are ready to let ourselves explore them again. I have spent many years letting myself forget a lot of things because I was just too busy. Recently, I’ve been taking more care to remember and it’s wonderful.

    Monica! What a wonderful surprise. Thank you. Yes, Kristi is in a very good place now.

    Angie – It’s interesting how we can view sibling relationships different when it’s with our children, isn’t it? It’s because we can take a step back, remove ourselves. It’s always harder to see something when you are smack dab in the thick of it. My two little ones have a love hate relationship and when they hate they really hate. I keep telling them they really need to hold onto that love. They really have no idea at this age. But boy you sure did get a unique peek. What a horrible thing to bear witness to. It’s my understanding that they try to keep the siblings together if they can. But serious ouch! I’m sorry Angie.

    Thank you Lynn. I fought it for so long. Who would have thunk it. LOL Me – a writer. But it has been working out so far. I have a lot of faith that Crystia will carry my MS to where ever it is meant to be. And I have to agree with you, I think I tapped into something rather powerful when I began writing. I could feel it. And its continued to drive me. Let’s hope it stays at the wheel until I type those two words “The End.”

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to stop in and comment. I ❤ you all!

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  18. Beautiful post Debra! I was swept away by the emotion of it. Wow. Brought tears to my eyes.
    I am so thankful that you’ve been able to find peace with your grief.
    I lost my dad in a car accident just before my 16th birthday and I know exactly what you mean when you say you dealt with the in-your-face grief but put off the real grieving and healing for a number of years. You are right, you can’t escape it. There’s no way around it. But we all come to our healing in our time and in our way. For me I was 19 for the initial stage. But I’ve found that throughout all of life’s milestones, I grieve again and again in a different ways. And, the memories of my Dad were so fragile that after twenty years, they have started to fade and die and I’ve grieve their loss. No one can ever imagine the journey of grief as it’s personal and unique to each of us. But it’s to each of us to embrace, process, heal, and find peace. I am thankful you have…and myself…it’s a blessing to be at that point where you can be sad, laugh, remember, honor etc but in an at-peace state!
    Here’s to you in finding and taking your journey with integrity, bravery, and beauty! HUGS!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Oh Natalie. Such a young and vital age to lose your father. I can only imagine how hard that was on your family, and you personally. You still had so many years when you would want your father’s advice. I know. I was dragged to grief counseling (because someone didn’t want to go alone, at first) and they told me up front something I have found to be very true – grief is a roller coaster. We will experience the highs and lows throughout our life. Sometimes it’s just going to hit us in the gut, when we are at our lowest, and there’s no way around it, it’s going to hurt like nothing else. But each low should get progressively easier to manage and work our way through. At least that’s my take on it. Develop a great circle of friends, and they’ll help you through the rough patches. Right? The important thing is to remember the good times. You want to be able to look at those memories, those pictures without pain fracturing your heart. I’m so thankful that you are well along your journey as well and are finding your peace. We are sisters in healing. Bless you for all your beautiful words and opening your story to me. ❤

  19. Your blog was beautiful! It took us all down to our souls and it is a great talent to be able to write something like that.

  20. Jenny Hansen says:

    Debra,

    It’s tragic to lose a loved one in the prime of their lives. My mother passed away far before her time and, while I’ve accepted her death, I’ll never be at peace with it. Eventually, I had to just accept that this will always be a sore spot that life will rub on from time to time.

    I’m so sorry for your loss, even all these years later. She was beautiful.

  21. What a touching, moving post. Your sister sounds like a beautiful soul and I’m glad your muse finally prompted you to fulfill something inside of you that needed to heal. I’ve never lost anyone close to me, so I’m not going to pretend to understand, but by your words and tribute to your sister, I sense the pain. Lovely, lovely post.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you Tameri. It was a long time coming, but it feels good. You’re lucky that you haven’t had to go through anything like it yet. I pray you don’t experience it for a very long time.

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  24. paywindow7 says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss of Kristi, she is a beautiful woman. I wish I could offer something to help ease the pain in your soul for that loss that is still there after these years, but there is nothing I could write here that could do that as well as the loving comments written above by your friends. I lost my mother when I was twelve and that void is still where she used to be and the truth is I don’t want it to go away. She’s still with me, just in a different way.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you, Bob. I, too, never want to stop feeling for my sister. I am in a good place with it all. I really appreciate your kind words. I’m so sorry you lost your mother at such a tender age. That had to be hard. I know it was very difficult for me when I lost my father and I had several years on you. I’m glad you are in a good place with it all. God bless you.

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