For the person who inspired it but won’t read it. For the person who couldn’t make it so far. For the person who died but still lives in my heart.
Having an older sister is the most amazing thing that can ever happen to a person. I know that because I had one. And the bond we shared was like no other. The first memories I had were with her. She was that foreign person I’ve never seen before, who stole my toys and ran away only to come back later with a big doll house she constructed for me. And I didn’t know whether to hate her because she left me crying for literally two hours, or love her because the doll house she made was the most beautiful gift I’ve ever had. I remember when we planted our first sunflowers, how we’d go water them every day, and lay beside them imagining how beautiful they’ll be when they bloom. And our favorite place, the apricot tree. We used to pick at that sticky gummy substance that comes out of it, stickies she called them, and just sit there till the sun sets. Later on, she started bringing the radio to my room and she would make me listen to The Beatles before sleeping, this is real music, it’ll chase the bad dreams she said. She helped me make my first Halloween costume and we had the fun of our lives at parties. On summers when she came from college, we’d stay up all night talking about everything and nothing. When it was my turn to go to college, she was the one who read the email and I almost lost it when it read I was accepted. She helped me pack, and gave me an hour advice speech.
Back to last May my life was as normal as it’s always been. It was the last day of college, and I was so excited that I finally get to go back home. My sister was getting back home too. We talked the night before and made plans to go see a movie we promised we’d wait until we watch it together.
I got home an hour before her, my parents were home, mom was cooking our favorite cherry pie, and dad was watching the tv. It felt good to be back. My parents and I were catching up, when my phone rang, it was my sister’s number, but not her voice. I thought it was one of her friends, but the voice sounded serious, and I could hear sirens in the background. He said they called me because I was on her speed dial and emergency list, he asked about my relationship with her, he said that she no longer exists.
I don’t know what was that feeling, but it was like being thrown at the bottom of a deep pool, a cold liquid rushing through my body, my blood froze in my veins, my vision got blurry, my hearing got blurry… I could see my parents hurrying towards me with fear on their faces, saying something that I couldn’t hear. The voice on the phone was still talking in words that I couldn’t make out. All the sounds were muffled, it was just distant noise in the background. The only thing that was on replay in my head was “I regret to tell you that your sister is dead”, what was that supposed to mean? Was that the thing when the soul leaves the body and the body is left to rot? How can that be possible when I just talked to her? I check the phone, it said last call was 27 minutes ago, how can a person cease to exist in just 27 minutes?
I couldn’t comprehend, I couldn’t speak, and even if I did I didn’t know what to say. My mind was rushing with thoughts, and I just wanted to scream to shut them. My mom yanked the phone from my hand, and all I could do was watch the tears stream down her cheeks as my father stood there in denial. We sat at the kitchen table, the three of us, looking at the cherry pie, not daring to say a word. Like maybe if we stayed silent long enough, we’d wake up from this nightmare, like maybe if we stayed silent the house wouldn’t crumble on us, like maybe if we stayed silent, she would walk through that door again.
Five months have passed since we lost her. The thing with death is that it comes so abruptly, and I was left with so many unsaid things suffocating me. So, sister, this is for you:
I want you to know that I didn’t break our promise, I haven’t watched the movie. I still water our sunflowers whenever I can, but their seeds taste different now. The apricot tree no longer makes apricots, but we never really cared about that, did we? Now there’s a swing on it, and each time I’m home, I just sit there, picking at stickies, waiting for the sun to set. Now I listen willingly to The Beatles before sleeping, yet the nightmares wouldn’t stop. Your records are still in your room, I sometimes go there and just play “Another day in the life” like we used to, except that there’s no one to sing it with me.
Today was just a typical day, and like every other day, you came across my mind only to remind me that you’re no longer here. The person who taught me that it was okay to be different, that I didn’t have to fit into some social norms to live my life, is no longer living. I know that sentimental talks are not your thing, I don’t like them either, but just bare with me for a bit. You’ve had my back since day one. You taught me to speak up for myself and to be proud of the person I am. You opened my eyes to the beauty of life, and at the same time to the disappointments that came with it. You showed me how to throw a punch, how to fix things, how not to die of hunger at university, how to fit all of my clothes in one bag. You taught me love, appreciation and honesty. You taught me all kinds of things, but not how to live without you.
I don’t believe that dead people are watching us from the sky, it makes no sense to me, but I do believe that wherever their souls might be, there are strings that connect us eternally, and that at this very moment, you and I are connected.. and I hope that my words are strong enough to move those strings. And when I say thank you, I hope I reach you.