Saturday, February 4, 2012

Before she died, my sister told me

to write about our life.


She asked me to slit open my chest and pin the flaps back against my collarbones, cut through my sternum and spread my ribs into a chapel. She said to step into that space and go poking around in my swollen [raw] heart, taking out pieces, holding them up in two fingers under the light, examining, admitting, a [thing] that she would never do in her airy fairy skinny-butted earthmother life. And she asked me to perform this unspeakable duty in her absence. As her stand-in. After she died.

She said, You know, anything can be funny. You're good at taking the bitter stuff and wrapping it in something crispy and sweet. Something you can chew slowly, like Good & Plenty.

That's pretty good, I told her.

Write it down, she said. It's not like I'm going to remember it.

My memories of myself begin on the day my sister came into our house. She is with me still like a Siamese twin I carry over my heart. In the blood that thuds in my eardrums, I can hear her voice.

I'll embroider, I told her. You know how I am.

I know. And one more thing, she said. Don't go posting any sappy updates on Facebook like that girl down the street does. Just start by saying: Most people don't know that brain cancer can be funny...

I wasn’t going to chew myself up like that. I told her flat out: I can't.

But of course I can.

*

Do you have a sister? I wouldn't want to go through life without a good one.

5 comments:

Leslie Hanna said...

I didn't have a sister. I'd give you a hug if you were a hugger. xo

word verification: foittede
Being pissed off you are turning forty.

Sweet Pea said...

You were there for her when she was a child and you helped usher her out as safely as possible when she needed your guidance at the end. That is a great sister.

My sister is my lifeline also and I know your pain and sense of loss because just the thought of losing my sister one day is too painful to think about. I hope I can do the same for her or her for me when the time comes and that will be a comfort.

Gina said...

I have a sister. Although we are thousands of miles apart, I think of her often, because she understands me and how "different" we are from the rest of the sibling group. She is indeed a good one, truth be told...but I would never tell her so.

GrandmaAngela said...

This really shows love and loss. And love remains.

Lisa - papergrace said...

I DO have a sister. And I love her so very much. She is my friend and my keeper of secrets. I can't imagine life without her. She is my absolute opposite. And she makes me feel whole. Your love for YOUR sister reminds me of how tight sisterly bonds are. You will always have that love. Nothing can take away your memories. ♥