By Sara Padilla, Portland
Sunshine & Salad Blog
– Bronze Prize Winner ($25) Valentine’s Contest. Every day this week a new winner will be revealed.
It has been 6 1/2 years since you’ve been gone. Today would have been your 35th birthday. That sounds so old! But I am older, always the big sister.
At the beginning, memories of you came crashing in, beautiful, and angry as I was angry.
Today they are gentler, but no less vivid. You are no less colorful, no less a part of my story. You just play a different role.
For about six years, I focused on losing you. I was deeply unhappy. It’s strange how one can experience profound joy and yet remain sad. That has been my experience since you died. I have given birth to two incredible children. Your nephews! They provide me hours of entertainment and education and give me great cause for humility. Parenting is among those experiences that you will not have an opportunity to intimately understand, though you, as a child, were parented.
You know those t-shirts, the ones that say “Life is Good”? I hated those t-shirts after you died. The simple, powerful message made me feel so empty and resentful. How dare happy people brag about how great things are going?
Mom used to wear those t-shirts.
Liz, since you left us, I’ve spent a great deal of time focused on regret and missed opportunity, on all the things that you did not do, and never will do, like holding your baby in your arms in those first few unbelievable moments. The senselessness of your death consumed me to the point where my own experience of Life began to unravel.
In the past six months, my vision has shifted somewhat. I rise at dawn to run on some days. I sleep in on others. I’ve begun to draw upon a source of energy that is all my own. There is a sense of hope, of opportunity.
Even though I miss you each and every moment of every day.
However, I have reclaimed my place in the world. Each of us has to do so in order to truly live. Men, women, children, toddlers, even babies. We all contribute. We all err. We start anew.
I don’t know what you would say today if you were here among us in the living world. But I know that death doesn’t destroy love. It only heightens the experience.
Please continue to be a greeter of angels, my sister. I will see you again someday.