You’ve been gone now for a week. When I got the news at first, I didn’t feel anything. I couldn’t cry and I kept asking myself, why am I not crying? Maybe because I had been preparing myself all day for…what, I wasn’t sure, but I knew something was wrong. They say that twins have a powerful connection and know things about each other, like some kind of empathic telepathy. Well, we’re not twins–I’m your older sister by 6 years, but I knew something was not right. I keep thinking about how I called you on your birthday last Monday while we were driving to have dinner with mom and dad and the girls sang happy birthday to you on speaker phone from the back seat. Did you ever hear that message? That message we left you haunts me. You didn’t pick up the phone. I was on pins and needles all day Tuesday when I still hadn’t heard from you.
All last week people were paying their respects and posting public tributes to Massimo Vignelli and Maya Angelou and it felt weird because I kept seeing all these RIP posts and messages everywhere on the internet while I was in my own private grief state. Dad told me that he had to put away all photos of you from the house that night because he couldn’t bear seeing pictures of you right now. I understand why he did it, but it felt like we were scrubbing you from our memories. Maybe this is why I’m writing this letter and posting it here…for who to read? I don’t know, but I felt like I needed to do something so that your life–and death–was acknowledged.
I still keep replaying that night over and over, having to call mom to tell her that you were gone. How do you break that kind of news to a mother? The morning after, I ushered the kids downstairs to our neighbor’s house to be walked to school and I haven’t really left the house much since then. I’ve cried, looked at old photos of us when we were kids, retraced through our last texts and phone calls, and thought about what your last day might have been like. We had only spoken to each other 2 days before.
We really miss you, but I hope you are at peace now. This is the only thing that comforts me. That and thinking about some of our childhood memories. Remember how we were both super obsessed with watching the weather forecasts on the news? Or how we watched the movie Aliens a billion times and memorized all the lines to Spinal Tap? How you, me and cousin Jeanie felt some weird guilt about not going to church when we were left in the house while mom and grandma went, so we conducted our own “church service” just to make sure we didn’t go to hell? I think about the suspenders that mom used to make you wear or your favorite orange wooden block; how you were obsessed with the Dukes of Hazzard and how we used to threaten you with “No Dukes!” when you didn’t do what we wanted.
It feels weird to think that I might be an only child now. What does that even mean? I still have a brother; you’re just not with us anymore, the same way that mom and dad still have a son and your kids still have a father. I hope you know that a lot of people are missing you right now. You were loved. You ARE loved.