I couldn't fall asleep last night. my mind was racing, and time kept sticking its tongue out at me. tick tock tick tock. sooner or later, midnight would strike, and again it would be September 17th. I hate that date with a fiery passion. I pretend that it is easy to look on the bright side of the story, but deep down it fills me with anguish and battles that i never picked up a sword to fight against.
That date, dare i say it again is the day that my older sister died. here i am 11 years later and it feels just as rotten as the first year the date hit again. the pain of it is equivalent to abandonment. she was more than my sister. she was my leader, she was the one i went to for it all. not my mom, God knows not my dad. it was her. all the identity, confidence, sense of worth was from her. nobody could give me those things like she could.
11 years ago today, I had my life all lined up before me. even now, this time of day, she was still here. i remember so clearly, thank you Lord for your gift you gave me. as i was rushing down to the locker room to get ready for practice, i saw her walking into the parking lot with her friend Kylie. that very usual circumstance turned into one of the biggest most valued moments in my life, for as i walked through the doors of the locker room, a very audible voice said to me "if that is the last time you see your sister, will you be satisfied?" i almost ignored it, because i didn't know what it was and i was 45 minutes late to practice.... but then i felt a tug in my gut. i knew i couldn't ignore it. I ran back upstairs and watched her walk by the spirit rock swinging her water bottle in one hand and using the other to gesture whatever it was that she was talking about. i watched her until she disappeared into the parking lot, I soaked it all in trying to catch details. Then i ran back downstairs to the gym changed my clothes, went to practice. The whole time during practice...i tried to stay positive and not let myself think that i was actually never gonna see her again. I kept looking at my watch, stomping on fallen leaves, and singing "all the leaves are brown and the sky is grey"...I looked at my watch again 4:17........and then i really belted it out, i was soo afraid. "CALIFORNIA DREAMIN ON SUCH A WINTERS DAAAAAY"..... 4:20. I knew, i just didn't want to believe it. i tried to put it in the back of my mind and think positive.
We get back to the school from our run and her volleyball partner came up to me and said "WHERE is Emily?" and initially i thought she was being stupid and skipped practice, but then it crept into my mind again.....she's gone.
there was a football game that night so a few of us cross country gals went and got 'made up' with school spirit. I tried to ignore my gut feeling and decided that my sister WAS gonna be at the game....and everything was gonna be normal.
as i painted paw prints on my (now) best friend 'Noi's' arms all i kept thinking was 'tonight I'm finding out Emily is dead' though it sounded bogus because who thinks like that? i tried to keep it to myself.
we get to the game, Emily's 2 best friends we hugging each other and crying. I run up to them....'whats wrong? where is Emily?' they don't know. we decide to call my parents and tell them that we don't know where Emily was, and that she didn't show up to volleyball practice and now she isn't even at the game. We call, 'Hi mom, its me...Kelly. We don't know where Emily is' on the other end of the line, my mom says the 3 words that ring painfully in my ears 'we found her' . my heart drops like a thousand pounds. shes dead. i knew it. i had 1 ounce of faith that she was still alive. i gave the phone to her friend Emily or heather, i don't even remember i think the other one was holding me up. we were to meet my parents in the parking lot in 15 minutes.
we sat at the bleachers on the bottom row. and i laid in heathers lap. sobbing. i kept saying 'she's dead. she's dead. i know it, i know it.' nothing mattered to me at all, except needing to know the truth. i just couldn't handle the waiting 15 minutes to find out. 10 minutes later we walk to the parking lot. like walking to your killer, and begging him not to shoot you. we walked, and then we stood waiting for a pair of headlights to stop in front of us. ...tick tock tick tock.... finally, there they were....i knew that those headlights were the ones my family was in....and i was right. they stopped, my mom got out of the back seat, she stood and looked at us, Emily's 2 best friends of 10 years, and me....what could she say? how do you begin? all i needed was just the look on her face. and then, she just shook her head.
'NO, NO NO.....' i ran past my mom, Jim and brother which were now all outside this strange car and i jumped into the back seat...laid out across it all. and i screamed. my future life flashed before my eyes.....everything you know, everything that you expect. changed. i saw my future brides maids...all lined up. Emily, slowly faded out. i saw Christmas, sitting around the tree, Emily vanished. Emily vanished from all of my life. the rest of the night is a blur. they directed us into some office area, where we were later joined by most of the rest of the crowd watching the football game. both our cheerleaders and the opponents. principles, coaches, football players...everyone. i cried in the corner, Kelsey...God bless her never left my side. I couldn't handle hearing the word 'died' i still didn't even know how it happened. i didn't want to know. if someone started saying how, i told them to shut up. i couldn't know yet.
our pastor drove us to our grandparents house....we needed to tell them. oh i couldn't bare it....i ran to the bathroom immediately and put my fingers in my ears as hard as i could. but nothing, could keep me from hearing my grandparents whaling. i can still hear it.
we slept on there living room floor that night. when i woke up....i kept my eyes shut....
i told myself that when i open them that i was gonna be at home, in my bed. with my sister in her bed next to me.
open. no. green carpet that smells like grandmas dogs pee. deffinatly not home. i look in the kitchen and they are talking about her death. 'car accident' 'at 4:19...died instantly'... too much death. too much of that word, i ran into the back room, i let a few tears fall. i needed to be strong right?
lemme fast forward....3 months have gone by. i thought that i needed to be over it by then. i told myself that she was gone for a reason. i had only cried 1 more time since her funeral.
fast forward again....now its 2 years later. i had only cried 2 more times or so. i thought that i needed to be happy with her death, since God allowed it to happen. I thought crying showed that you thought God made a mistake.
now it is 11 years later. i have finally reached a point where i am mourning her death. all in the past 8 months or so. i never wanted to talk about it or her. i resented her almost.
I wish i had seen a counselor. i wish that i would have mourned earlier.
I have researched what it is like to lose a sibling who is in the spot light. and i am comforted in knowing that there are others out there like me, who are going through the same thing now (ten years later) I feel like i now have a very rocky road ahead of me. letting myself grow up. changing how i feel like i cant grow because she isn't around to grow with me. to pick me up. to help me with decisions. to follow.
for a long time i have felt like i am trapped in my 14 year old body. like i have the same level of confidence as i did then. like i need help with my decisions like i did then. everything that she gave me then....is where i lack in ability now.
i think i am ready. i pray almost everyday for God to help me with the complexes that this has created in me. I pray for strength, i pray for confidence. I think i am ready to grow even though Emily is not here to grow with me. i don't want to leave her behind me. i don't know how to take her with me.
Emily used to always wait at the finish line of my cross country meets or my track meets, and i was so comforted in getting to that finish line, no matter how painful it was to sprint to the end. because i knew once i got there, she was waiting for me, to catch me. I fell in her arms every time....then she walked with me on the grass of the field and told me how amazing i was. and now, the next time she catches me at the end of this journey... we will both be in heaven, and she will walk with me through fields of green, and tell me what an amazing job i did.
God taught me a very valuable lesson Sep-17-1999, 'never let a loved one walk away, but if they must go, turn and watch them until the disappear I'm so glad i did.