How can I be mad at you when you aren’t even here to defend yourself? Remember when we used to fight and I would yell at you for doing something stupid and you would yell back that it was your life and you could be as stupid as you wanted? I miss those fights. They were so real, so tangible.
You haven’t yelled at me in 9 years. You haven’t told me that you are proud of me in 9 years.
I wake up every morning and I don’t know how to get out of bed. Somehow I shower, I do my hair, I put my make-up on, I say goodbye to the dogs and then I stand there in front of the door. And I battle. The dogs know the battle and they hope that I will lose and crawl back into bed with them. But I don’t. I open up the door and I step into the world.
That first step every morning is the hardest. 9 years ago I didn’t ask to be the oldest sister. It’s a job I never wanted, a job thrust upon me by you. And I am beyond mad at you for that. How could you be so selfish?
And yet those threads of anger quickly disappear because how can I stay angry when you aren’t here to tell your side of the story? How can I stay mad when we can’t shout it out?
So I forgive you for the millionth time and I tell you that I love you, always hoping that I’ll remember the last time you said those words to me. I never do. I remember eating pizza with you and I remember you backhandedly complimenting my cowboy boots but I don’t remember those three words. I really wish I did.
So I take another step and then another, into a world that doesn’t know you, a world that is so greatly lacking you. I tuck you away in my heart and I live a life that I know you’d be proud of. I try so hard, knowing that it will always be hard without you. Always.
I love you, big sister.
Happy 39th birthday.