A year ago, my sister passed away.
Today is the anniversary.
Well, I don’t really know if I’d call it an anniversary. Anniversaries seem like something you should celebrate.
Today’s not a day to celebrate. It’s a day to grieve, to miss her, and to feel sorry because she isn’t here. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary, and it’s something I’ve done every day for the past 365 days.
It’s not that I want to hurt like this every day or want others to feel sorry for me. There is just a piece of my heart that is gone and can’t come back.
But it’s not me that I feel sorry for—it’s her.
I feel sorry that, wherever she is now, there is a mother, a father, there are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, family, and friends crying, praying, and begging she will come home. Waiting for her to walk through the door and act like she never left or just came back from another crazy, impromptu vacation like she always did.
I feel sorry that, after working with kids nearly her whole life, she never got to have any of her own. That she never got to live happily ever after like Nathan Scott and Haley James or Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf like she always wanted. I’m sorry that she never got to have the gigantic and dramatic wedding she wanted or to have a house of her own.
I feel sorry that she only lived 24 years and didn’t get to experience the things that really matter.
Instead, she spent her life taking impromptu trips to Vegas, California, Tennessee, and Florida or seeking thrills like skydiving. Working at her favorite retail shops just long enough to get the discount, babysitting, nannying, and hanging out with other people’s children. Going to every concert that was within a 50-mile radius, spending money like there was nothing to save for, and taking enough pictures to fill up an entire phone.
She didn’t get the memo that we need to start young to make a life for ourselves. Go to college, get married, have kids, find a good job, and settle down. Focus on the things that really matter.
‘Cause those are the things that really matter…right?
Maybe, after all, today is a day to celebrate.
It’s a day not to dwell on the fact that she didn’t get the chance to find the cliché relationship she idolized on TV or to have her own children, but to celebrate that she lived her life making memories with her family and friends that will last us a lifetime. Because those things are what actually matter, and that’s what she taught me. Her life was about adventure, thrill-seeking, chasing vibes, and making others laugh. Her life was about showing others that money doesn’t mean everything, that in the end it will all work out, and to “stop being so dramatic and live a little,” because we aren’t promised tomorrow.
Today is the anniversary of the day she taught me to not focus on the things that people say “really matter” but to focus on what actually matters and live life just like she did: with the purpose of just living.
So, I celebrate today as a time to remember that, from the day she was born until the day she left the physical world, she lived her life to the fullest. In 24 years, she lived more of a life than most people do in 50 years.
Most importantly, she taught me the importance of life.
And for that, I celebrate.