Wednesday, February 24, 2010

H for Happy Birthday

I should be celebrating my sister’s 22nd birthday today (or at least this upcoming weekend). She, my middle sister, my cousin-friend, and I should all be getting together this Friday to go out for dinner and drinks like we did a few weeks ago for my middle sister’s birthday. We should be laughing until we nearly cry; probably over something completely and totally ridiculous that in retrospect isn’t anywhere near as hilarious as we think it is in our celebratory state. But we’re not, because she’s not here. A selfish, pathetic, ridiculously weak, sociopath took her life a little over two years ago.

(Photo taken less than a month before her death; She had taken Li'l D to get his 2 year old pictures done. The fabulous people at Sears let my sister and I pick these pictures up, and upon hearing the story of her death, gave us a CD of all the images along with a photo release.)

I am angry and I am sad. And that’s actually a huge understatement, but I can’t quite find the words to say what I’m really feeling. My brain is crowded by thoughts and emotions that are swirling out of control.

She should’ve been at Li’l D’s 4th birthday bash on Sunday. She’d be so proud of her “little man.” He’s getting so big, and he’s becoming his own person; complete with a huge personality, thousand-watt smile, and plenty of attitude just like his momma. She only got to be his mommy in person for a little under two years, and that’s just not fair. To him, to her, or to any of us. Her beautiful son will sing “Happy Birthday” to his mommy’s picture, like he’s does every year since she’s been gone; he'll blow out the candles on her birthday cake for her, and he'll release balloons into the air with a happy birthday message for his mommy.

(Auntie Elle and Darion celebrating his 4th birthday!)

(Happy 4 year old!!)

My emotional outbursts/crying jags happen far less regularly now than they used to, but days like today are harsh reminders of the wounds I carry hidden away from most of the rest of the world. Tonight I might surrender to my grief, allowing the hard, body-shaking sobs to come. Music Man will hold me and comfort me, whispering into my hair that he loves me and that he misses her too. He barely got to know her, but in the short time that he did, he loved her. Everyone did. That’s the kind of person she was.

It’s not that I’d rather grieve than try to celebrate her life; it’s that I can’t tonight. I just don’t have it in me. I have a nasty head cold, so I’m already physically exhausted, which just seems to intensify my emotions—especially the negative ones. Sometimes, surrendering to the emotions is just the easiest thing. Emotionally spent and physically exhausted, I’ll head to bed early hoping that she hears me wishing her a happy birthday.

I’ll remember the good times we had.  I’ll think about what I miss and what I’ll continue to miss. I remember her contagious laugh—the one that would’ve gotten us all started this weekend; we would’ve collapsed into giggling fits right in the middle of the restaurant, not caring about who might be staring at us or questioning our sanity. I want to hear it again—that laugh—but it’s fading now. I can’t hear it in my mind like I used to be able to. I miss her hugs; she gave the best hugs. Now, I barely remember what it felt like to have her arms around me, and my heart physically hurts when I recall our last hug, which was far, far too long ago.

It seems too soon for these memories to be gone, or so faded, and the feeling of loss is made worse by the knowledge that I will never again hear her laugh or feel her hugs. There’s no way to recapture these things once they’re gone.

It’s moments like these, where I sit and think and wish and wonder, that I am overcome with emotion. Life isn’t fair!!! I know it’s not supposed to be, and that no one ever promised that it was, but this feels like a ridiculous level of unfair. She was only 19. She was a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, granddaughter, and friend. She was loved and cared about, and as the youngest of my siblings, she was fawned over. She shouldn’t be gone, and she most definitely shouldn’t have died the way that she did.

It’s all a bitter reminder that life is short, and yet it feels too long as well. Two years without her has been hard, excruciatingly so at times. I miss her every single day. Somedays it hurts more than others; days like today are a prime example. I can’t imagine the rest of my life without her, so I have no choice but to take life day by day until the pain subsides again and I feel stronger.

Happy birthday, baby sister. You are gone, but never forgotten. I love you and miss you more than I could ever say. Wherever you are, I hope that you are happy and at peace. I know that you watch over your little man, and I can only imagine how much your heart swells with pride over what a fantastic little boy he is. I hope that you always know how much you are loved. I look forward to seeing you again someday—we’ll have a lot of catching up to do. I can’t wait to hear that fabulously contagious laugh, to see that giant beautiful smile, and to feel your most fantastic hugs.

            Love always and forever,
            Your big sister

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  1. I really wish I had something powerful to say to make it not hurt anymore but I don't. All I can say is I am here if you want to talk and that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I know there is nothing I can say that will make you feel any better... I am so sorry for your loss.... 2 yrs.... is so recent.. and it must seem like forever too... How sad... how sick this world is.. :(

    Big Hugs for you! You are really strong!


  3. This is so sad,... I read one of your other articles about your sister,..
    She was beautiful and it seems as if she was a wonderful sister. Domestic violence is an ugly thing. I also lost a dear friend to it. Thus, I do know that nothing I can say would make it better.
    Her son is just so cute,... I am sure his mother looks down and is so happy that her sisters are looking after him so well.

  4. Elle, this is a beautiful post. I think that one thing you said was especially profound:

    "It’s all a bitter reminder that life is short, and yet it feels too long as well."

    That was really thought-provoking and rings true. I can not even begin to imagine what you've been through...your loss, Darion's loss. It's exactly senseless.
    The Happy Birthday letter you wrote brought tears to my eyes. In the last photo of her and Li'l D, you can tell that she was a beautiful, proud, and happy mama. I'm so sad and mad at the same time.
    I'm thinking of you. And I hope you are getting over your head cold...feel better soon.

  5. That is so horrible. Thanks for having the courage to share. It sounds like you're an amazing sister and auntie.

  6. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. What a beautiful and moving post.

  7. I don't even know what to say. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss Elle. It all seems so senseless. It makes the bottom of my stomach quake having come from a house with marital abuse.

    I don't even know what to say either other than to wish I could give you a big hug, and to say a prayer for you and your family. Your sister's son looks absolutely adorable.

  9. Saying I'm sorry wouldn't begin to cover it, but I am. I am so sorry that this happened. Your sister sounds like a very good woman & your love for her pours out in this post. Please accept my thoughts & prayers.

  10. I am so sorry! This really was a very moving post. Thank you for sharing.

    I stopped by to welcome you to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood!

  11. I stopped by to say thanks for peeking in on my blog. I read your post and it's a beautiful tribute to your sister. I'm very sorry that you and your family had to experience such hardship.


  12. It is heartbreaking to read about this senseless tragedy. Your sister was a beautiful girl inside and out. Your nephew is blessed to have a loving aunt.

    Welcome to SITS. We're glad you joined :-)

  13. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beautiful sister and for all the losses you and her family have endured.
    Here from SITS with an open <3 and abiding sympathy.

  14. This was an absolutely beautiful post to read. I wish I could say something to make it better but I know I can't so... I'm keeping you in my thoughts.

  15. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. That's just terrible, I don't know what I can possibly say, except that I'm thinking of you.

    It was nice of the photo people to let you have all the images.

    Visiting from SITS to welcome you on board.

  16. I think you are entitled to your grief-- yes, you try to push past it most of the time, but in order to really heal, every once in a while, you need to embrace it. I am so sorry for your loss; I can't even imagine it. Your sister was truly beautiful.


  17. I'll never understand the unjustices in this world. I'm sorry for the loss of your sister.

    I'm stopping by from SITS. Welcome to the group.

  18. Oh my... I was stopping by to welcome you to SITS, but oh my goodness. I am sooo sorry for your loss, that is just terrible! Hopefully the connections you've made here will give you a little boost on a really hard day!

  19. I'm terribly sorry for the loss of your precious sister. You are keeping her memory alive though and helping to raise her beautiful child. I know she must be so grateful for that. Hugs!

    Stopping by from SITS.

  20. I stopped by from SITS to welcome you. Now my heart aches for you. May your precious memories help with ease your grief.

  21. I am so heartbroken for you! This is something that no one should have to go through! You and your family are definitely in my prayers!

    Welcome to SITS! I'm glad you joined. The love and support is great!

    Sarah Ruth

  22. Hi,

    Hope you are doing well.

    I am not sure if you know, but I live in Namibia, Africa. We have digital satellite TV in my country and one of my favorite channels is the Crime Investigation Network.

    Earlier today, while I was working on a report, a TV program, The First 48, was on. I was not paying attention but at one time I glanced up and saw the picture of your sister and her son on the screen. That specific episode of The First 48 was about your sister’s murder.

    The crime was so brutal and I am not sure but I got the feeling your nephew probably witnessed the crime. That is so sad. The program touched me deeply because she was so young and appeared like such a lovely person.

    I am so sorry about what happened to your sister. It was such a senseless crime.

    I do hope that you and your family found some closure and are being able to move one.

    Just wanted to let you know that I saw the show and probably never would have paid close attention if I did not read the post you wrote.

    I do hope that you and your family found some closure and are being able to move one.

    Take care!


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