Saturday, March 07, 2009


I thought I was reconciled to my sister's death. It has been 14 months now, and I thought I'd accepted it, as I accepted Grandfather's death a few months ago. I thought I was at peace. Until I woke up sobbing this morning.

I had a heartbreaking dream. At the end of it, Tammy said, "I don't want you or Terri to come see me anymore," and then walked away from me. She was so slender and frail she was nearly transparent in the sunlight. I said, "Please Tammy, lets talk about this." She kept walking, her blonde hair a halo of light. "Why won't you talk about it?" I followed her and she went around a car, putting it between us. "There is nothing left to say," she said. In my dream, her words hit me like a blow to the chest. "How can you say that?" I cried out to her. "We're so young! We can't spend the rest of our lives not talking." I saw her moving on the other side of the car. She bent down to look at me through a window and I did the same. When she spoke, the world cracked, throwing me into wakefulness and tears. "There is nothing left to say. I'm dead."

I sobbed in the shower. Huge, body-wracking sobs. I don't know that I've ever cried like that before, though I'd seen it. She cried like that when we finally got to Hawaii to bury Mom. I miss her so much. Every day. Where Grandfather was, there is a place of peace and acceptance. But where Tammy was, there is emptiness, sadness. I try to remember good things, happy things. I remember the summers spent so near where I am living now: playing in the redwoods, swinging in hammocks, legs dangling high up in the plum trees eating not-quite-ripe fruit until we were sick. I try to fill that empty space with beauty, but its often sucked away like water in sand, leaving me aching.

My lover held me as I cried. Said it was ok when I apologized for alarming him. I told him I missed Tammy so much and he kissed me and said, "You tried so hard... You did everything you could... She chose to go."

Yes, she chose to go. I know. Her life became nothing but pain and shadows and she let go. She became the angel my niece talks about all the time, the Auntie who took her on magic carpet rides and keeps her company when her mommy is 3000 miles away. I have Tammy's ashes in a box with a teddybear that smells like Grandmother for company. But that is what remained of her body. Where is her spirit? WHERE IS MY SISTER?

I'm pretty sanguine about the Big Unanswerables. Most of the time it is enough just to be able to frame the questions and recognize which ones can be answered empirically and which ones cannot. And most of the time, I let the Unanswerables go and focus on what can be solved. I thought I'd let this one go, but my subconscious served it up to me once again. I guess that is part of the grieving process. I just hope it doesn't clobber me so hard next time ;)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We think about those who are no longer with us. We miss them and reflect upon their lives, what they meant for us and others, and about their sufferings. By thinking about them, we keep their memories alive. And that is good.

2:16 PM, March 09, 2009  

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