Wednesday, July 19


how do you put grief into words?
i've always thought i had that down pat.
loss and i are old friends, after all.
today, however,
i'm not so sure there are words that can capture the scope of the loss i'm feeling.

my youngest sister, anna, is dead.

that one sentence states the facts.
but, it's not enough.
...because that just tells you how the story ends,
and doesn't do anything at all to tell you about how much she mattered to us.
it's easy to say you're sorry that something sad has happened.
and really, what else can someone on the outside ever actually say?
there's a kind of culpability in that apologetic offering-
'i'm sorry for your loss' is sort of the same thing
as volunteering the sentiment of being sorry for not losing.
me and mine just took a hard L,
and in an instant,
just like that,
everything has changed,
and nothing has changed,
and i'm seriously not sure which is worse.
do you understand?
i've got to do all the same sh!t i had to do yesterday,
and all those mundane chores and tasks and responsibilities remain.
a huge glitter-glued sparkly continent-sized piece of my life and times is missing.
it's not like we spoke every day.
it's not like we saw each other every time i went back home.
that's wasn't ever the point.
we didn't have to, because we each knew how the other felt.
we actually liked each other.
we laughed the hardest together.
we shared all the inside jokes at the family's expense.
we picked up right where we left off, every time, no matter how much time had passed.
we were connected, and we were friends and now she's gone.
that's the big motherF*er about death.
you can still have a whole lot of great things with a whole bunch of great people,
but you never get to have those things with that person ever again.
and i'll miss every last bit of it.
she was a good person.
she did a whole bunch of A*-hole things, and often-
it wouldn't be a true story if we left that out-
but she was a good person.
better than her brother and sister at the core of it all.
for all that she tagged along behind us, she led the way in that respect.
here's the thing-
from way back in the day, when my kid sister was just a little girl,
she was determined to be every bit as big as her siblings.
that meant she went after every moment twice as hard,
twice as loud, twice as fearlessly as the rest of us.
so much so that we all knew
(and that includes any friends who happened to be playing with us)
that as soon as anna got involved,
any ordinary games were about to get really real real fast.
we used to genuinely fear her level of absolute intensity. teasing her was dangerous because retribution was swift and brutal,
and then forgive and forgotten.
she was prepared to go farther than the rest of, and she routinely did.
her determination to be considered the same as us typecast her as a tough guy,
in reality,
she was more of a lover than a fighter.
and she loved as hard as she fought.
maybe harder.
in some ways, i think she thought of them as one and the same.
if she loved you, and she probably did, she loved you the best,
and if she hated you, damn, dude- you definitely deserved it...
she kept my mother on her toes, with midnight calls of danger close confrontation,
wherein she was guided to safety by our dear ol' ma.
it seemed like she was good for one of those a year, like a booster shot.
she was so much like our father in that-
hell, she made him feel needed, which was all he ever really needed.
and she really needed her mom to take care of her, which was hell on them both.
life is funny like that, only, nobody ever laughs at it, when it's all really happening.
she was a neat freak and a hot mess.
she was a workhorse who could sleep for days.
she was a fast-talking sh!t-talking right-up-to-your-face-and-dis-you girl.
she was a ghetto fabulous and a do-it-yourself crafty homemaker.
she never got her driver's license.
she was my father's favorite daughter, and his favorite son, and deservedly so.
she was thirty six years old and she died in her sleep.
that's some small comfort.
i remember her as a torpedo of a baby.
i remember her as the sweet second sister who endured being the second sister.
i remember her as my little tagalong, helping me shovel snow.
i remember her as a batsh!t teen terror.
i remember her as a beaming graduate from night-school.
i remember her working for me and saving my A* when i was unequal to the role of boss.
i remember her as a laugh-so-hard-we-cried co-conspirator on too many christmases.
i remember her as a dazed and crazed bride at her front-yard barbecue wedding.
i remember her cradled in my arms, crying and helpless, when her husband died.
i remember her as she was, light and dark, easy and hard.
anna was a good person.
she was a kind person.
she was my little sister.
she was my friend.
i am grateful for the time we were given,
and the life and love we shared;
never quiet, never soft.....


SC said...

I heard the sad news all the way out here on the West Coast. It's been a long time. Any words of condolence here would be awkward coming from such a long period of silence. I just wanted to say those were great words from a brother about a sister. Any sister would be happy to remembered in such a way, but especially your sister. Hope this finds you well.

Michael said...

You got me crying at my desk at work. Love you, buddy.

Travis Piper said...

Amazing words for what sounds like an amazing person. Much love, man. So sorry.