…and I think what I learned from the 30 Days of Blogging is that I’m not really in search of clarity at all–I’m looking for relief from the sorrow, respite from the often-overwhelming sad of losing Kate. I’m wishing that writing might make the tears less imminent and the lump in my throat easier to swallow.
I guess that has happened to some small extent, but I’m still teary when I speak of her or when I see something that makes me think of her or when people ask me how I’m coping. The good news is I am coping. Life is going on. I’m working, I’m writing, I’m lunching with friends, I’m going to the gym with PJ, I’m doing yard work and housework and laundry, and going to the lake. Life is going on. I can’t decide what surprises me more–that life does indeed go on much as before–the bills still have to paid, the bathrooms still need scrubbing, and the dishes won’t magically do themselves just because I’ve endured a tragedy. Or how very much losing Kate has affected me.
Why am I surprised by the level of sadness that I feel at Kate’s death? Because it was so fast and unexpected? Because Kate and I didn’t live in each other pockets when she was alive and well? Because frequently, we went for a week or longer without even talking on the phone? All those things, I guess, but I think the biggest reason is that Kate is my sister, and I feel like a piece of me went with her. Kate is one of a few people in the world who knew my history, who shared my childhood intimately, who could say, “Oh yeah, I remember that!” when I’d bring up some long-ago memory. There are very few people left in my life that I shared my childhood with–PJ, Bud… well, PJ and Bud.
Even Husband, with whom I’ve shared over 43 years doesn’t have that connection to my past. He doesn’t remember Mom gathering us all on her bed to read Anne of Green Gables to us. He wasn’t there when Nana and Gacky arrived on Christmas mornings with their arms full of gifts for four squirmy excited kids. He’s never tasted Mom’s amazing crumb coffeecake or her homemade pork and beans or her mashed potato doughnuts. He didn’t get to share beach campfires in Michigan and s’mores in the sand and Mom, again, reading to us by firelight.
I don’t want those reminiscences to ever dissolve and I’m afraid they might, because Kate was one of the keepers of the family memories and she’s not here anymore. So, it’s important for me to talk about and write about those old days–now I get why older people do that so much. If we don’t talk, if we don’t remember and share, then those times will be lost forever.