Today, someone asked me what it feels like.
“I mean, you lost your husband and then now you’ve lost your sister.”
How do you put into words what it feels like to lose the other half of your heart? She was always there–my sister. In the darkest periods of my life, I hang onto the thought that my sister was always there. She was witness to my wildest dreams and imaginings and she was the person I confided in the most in times of deep despair. She loved me steadfastly even when she didn’t agree with the choices I made and even when it grieved her to see me walk away from the path that was familiar to us both.
I have a memory of my elder sister from when we were in grade school. Back then, going to school meant climbing down the mountain path to the gravelled road and then a 10-15 minute hike to the central school. I was always slow back then and a little bit of a spoiled child.
(My sister, being much quicker on her feet always was at least a few feet in front of me. )
In this memory, my sister has reached the bend in the mountain path–a couple of meters down from home. I am still at the top of the path. It had rained in the night and the path was a bit slippery and being the scaredy-cat that I was, I wanted my sister to come back and help me down the slippery slope. She, on the other hand, was already impatient to go to school because the first bell had already rung.
I remember my sister telling me to hurry up and I remember crouching there and crying for her to come get me.
Finally, she came marching back up the mountain slope. I still remember the look on her face.
Regardless of how aggravated she was, she helped me down from the top of the slope. She held my hand until we got to a place where the earth was less slippery.
My heart aches.
I have so many memories. Of stories shared in the dark of night after the lights went out–of listening for the crunch of gravel outside our bedroom window–of running up and down the mountainside.
There are not enough words to say what it’s like.