A year ago, I was still processing that my parents had just moved from their home of 25 years to a different state and I was starting my first week of grad school. Devin was traveling and we had an international student living with us. We had a roof leak in our family room that the roofing guy said was a pest control issue. The pest control guy said it was a plumbing issue and we had pest issues. Somewhere in there a guy fell through our ceiling and it all seemed so ridiculous I couldn’t stop laughing. I told Devin that week honestly couldn’t get crazier and it did.
That weekend my Mom called and told me that my sister passed.
Sympathy cards flooded our mailbox, people brought us dinners, and there were gracious people who walked up to me a month or two after the fact just to give me a hug. I can’t say that I am finished grieving because I’m not and I’m realizing that perhaps I won’t ever fully be. This week was harder than I thought it would be and I’ve cried a lot.
Our relationship was not easy. Anne struggled with severe psychiatric and mental health issues that had been around so long that I hadn’t been able to have a normal relationship with her since I was 8. It was hard to see the struggles she experienced and it was harder to have to see them from a distance for my emotional safety. I’ve struggled a lot over the years trying to sort things out; her last words to me were expressing her deep hatred for me and how I ruined her life. After she passed, I stopped praying for resolution, but instead began just praying that I would know that Anne loved me in a real and tangible way. I felt if I knew that, then that would be enough and everything else would sort itself out.
Last week, as I was going through boxes of pictures so I could show some photos to my friends I found letters that were written for me at my baptism at 8. The writing prompt was for people to write about their baptism. I recognized my sister’s handwriting from the letters and decided to see what she remembered about her baptism. Instead of following the writing prompt, which is typical of my sister and made me smile, she wrote about the first day my parent’s brought me home.
I was an unexpected adoption for everyone, my parent’s weren’t looking for another child and were turning 40 the next month, and here my sister describing her experience of meeting me at the first time at 8. This was a story she had never shared with me in any other medium and I could see Anne’s genuine personality. The real her and I felt so much love as I read that letter and I knew everything was going to be okay.
This past year I’ve learned that even though I don’t have a sister right now, I can have sisterhood; it has carried me over this past year. As I’m learning more about sisterhood and what it looks like, I hope that I can keep paying into the collective love that I have been shown.
Until we meet again Anne, I’ll write down the good memories and I’ll keep them somewhere safe. I hope you know that you are missed.
The fact of the matter is, we really and truly need each other. Women naturally seek friendship, support, and companionship. We have so much to learn from one another… .
– Bonnie L. Oscarson