It's December 11. Not 12 or 13, Lora's and my birthday's, respectively. Sometimes 9,10, 11...they're harder for some reason. People naturally expect that my sister's birthday, or her homegoing anniversary, or Christmas day - that those days are the hardest. I'm sure for some they are (I know they are for my mom). But for me, the anticipation of a thing has always been harder, because I'm a planner, a thinker...I'm always a step ahead, it seems. So this week in general has been a melancholy one. I'm sure the hormones don't help. But, somehow it's in the little things.
Like driving down a main street on a gray day this week, I passed a cemetary. Little clouds of red flowers dusting the small field of gravestones. That made me sad. My sister's grave is not a place I can go, and most times that's perfectly fine. I do most of my remembering and honoring of her in other ways. But sometimes it makes me sad, that I'm not there.
Or listening to my youngest boo-hoo tonight at the dinner table because my husband brought her a glass of milk but not sissy. She actually wouldn't stop bawling until Evyn got her milk. That made me smile, and miss my sister a little. She was the same way. I can't stop thinking of Lora when I watch how fiercely protective and genuinely loving they are of each other.
Or on a bad day, when I want so badly to just reach out to my first "other half." I'm grateful for my husband, who is my dearest friend and supporter, and who loves me and is encouraging just when I need him to be. But he is not a girl. And is not my sister.
I have a surprising number of close relationships with women. I'm so appreciative of those friends, who are loyal and supportive of me. And I take great care with those friendships because they are so much like sisters to me. But in the end, they aren't my sister. They aren't obligated to me, don't share my history, weren't there for all the good and bad growing up, weren't the ones who wrote me a last birthday letter with visions and promises of a life side-by-side as sisters...there was only one. And she's gone. And there are just some days that makes me lonely.
She would be 29. I don't dwell too long on the "what-ifs" but I do catch myself picturing her chasing a baby or two around the kitchen, calling me for advice (or offering it). Maybe saying "remember when?" as we joke about our kids and what they're up to. And then I snap out of it, and instead watch my own girls with fond memories, hopeful they will always be as loving as they seem to be now, and constantly encouraging them to take care of each other, expecting (praying) they'll be able to...well past my own lifetime.