Most days I’m not sad about the death of my sister Kylene. It’s been 11 years after all. And the sharp pangs of loss tend to fade over time into a duller, more generalized ache of longing. But there are triggers that bring back the sting of losing her. Inevitably, major life milestones, her birthday every year, and today—the anniversary of her death—dredge up the deep well of feelings of losing your 16-year-old sister.
In the past, I’ve shared Kylene’s poems (here and here). Yesterday I was reading through one of her journals. Her words are pretty typical of girl her age (she was 13 when she wrote these particular entries and looking forward to a trip to Georgia with her Girl Scout troop), but there ones that break my heart because they’re so full of hopes and dreams, and I know she had so many of these that never came true.
“Every activity sounds incredibly exciting.” “There are so many things to look forward to.” “Seven days ’till I have one of the best five days in my entire life.” When I read these snippets I can’t help but think of all the activities she missed out on, all the things she looked forward to and never got to experience, how short her entire life ended up being.
So I let myself have this day to be sad for Kylene and for myself, and for all the people who knew her and lost her, and all the people who didn’t get to know her. The other days I remember her with a smile, and try to be more caring like she was, and try to live my life experiencing new and wonderful things because she didn’t get to. Even though sometimes it’s hard to remember, not because the memories are faded, but because the memories are bittersweet.