Here's What You Missed, Sister, in the 10 Years You've Been Gone
An Iowa editor remembers the life of her sister (and the moments she missed) on the 10-year anniversary of her death.
You’ve missed a lot in the 10 years you’ve been gone.
Most days, it doesn’t seem fair. Most days, I silently wish you could have been there through those milestones, the happy moments and the downright crappy parts of the last 3,653 days.
But you weren’t.
And that’s okay.
Over those 520 weeks, I’ve accepted the fact you were taken from us too young. At 16, you barely had a chance to live. It didn’t stop us, though. We’re still here, thriving, living life and cherishing those moments in ours. We do it — I do it — in honor of the moments you never got the chance to cherish yourself.
Today, I wanted to remember a few of those moments as a way of remembering you, as a way of sharing your memory with everyone else and showing them the life I led despite not having you there next to me, encouraging me and giving me the strength to trudge on. For example:
Graduating High School, One Year After
I was so excited, but it was so bittersweet. We were supposed to have our graduation party together. We argued over what kind of frosting our cake would have – sugar or whipped cream. Well, it ended up being whipped cream although I probably should have sucked it up and had sugar frosting (just because I knew you’d appreciate the gesture).
By the way, life is never as good after high school as everyone thinks it will be, as we thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong: I love how life turned out, but I think we craved the freedom more than anything. For crying out loud, though, someone should have warned me about the responsibilities (bills) that came with it.
Boys (Years 1-10)
Something tells me had you been around for this I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time.
You were so much smarter than me with such better insight, even for a teenager. Insight that no doubt would have seasoned with age. No one tells you about the things boys say, the promises they make and the promises they break. No one tells you to let your guard down just enough, but to keep a wary eye out for the ones with bad intentions.
The tears I cried were (ridiculously) plentiful and, sometimes, I swear it took me making the same mistake eight times before I finally learned.
But guess what? I found a good one (finally) and we’re getting married in three months. I fell for the person I never knew I wanted (people don’t tell you that’s possible, either). If you were here, you’d be standing up there with me. Our big sister will be there, though, and I know you’ll be watching.
Family (and Me), From Then to Now
Dad just got a promotion. Margie is a pharmacist. She married one, too! They had a baby six months ago. They live too far away (even if it’s only the east edge of the state), and I always tell them they need to move back to Des Moines now that I’m here.
I graduated college and became a journalist, something you knew I wanted to be because I made that decision long before you left. You always encouraged my writing, and you were the only person I let read my stuff when I was younger.
This all makes me miss you terribly. My heart still hurts when I look at your picture, and Dad still cries when he thinks no one is watching.
That’s okay, too. The moment it stops hurting completely is the moment we’ve lost your memory.
And that, my amazing sister, is never going to happen, because as long as we have our memories, we’ll always have you.
Megan Verhelst is the local editor for Ankeny Patch.