The anniversary of my sister’s death was this week. The anniversary is prominently marked on my calendar. Last year (which was the one-year anniversary) I didn’t feel like I properly recognized the significance of the day. I primarily kept my normal routine. I thought about her and talked about how much I missed her with my siblings. However, my day felt routine even though I did feel “off.” This year, I surmised that last year I felt “off” because on that day I did what I always do: Avoided allowing myself to grieve and naturally move through it. This year, I planned to fully embrace my sadness. I was not going to pretend that particular day didn’t represent one of the biggest losses I have ever suffered.
I planned to be sad and to mourn. I cleared the day and reminded family and friends of the date she died. I told them I would not be available that day as I planned to relish in quiet, look at pictures of her and remember how monumental her imprint on my life had been. That’s what I planned but that is not what happened.
On the morning of her death, I bounded out of bed with more energy than I usually have that time of the day. Once I got up, I thought of Bert and said my prayers. I wasn’t sad. I had my own mini praise session. I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. When I thought of Bert and how she enriched my life, I was so thankful that God blessed me with her as a big sister. What an amazing gift I had been given from the day I drew my first breath.
I remembered how she loved me, taught me, looked out for me, wanted the best for me, and yes when it was needed, unabashedly admonished me. I felt that to be sad and mope around would dishonor her spirit. Bert loved life and even though she had so many major health issues, she had a thirst for life and never let her physical pain stop her from enjoying it to the fullest.
Rather than being sad, I chuckled at past memories and seemed to feel her approval. My memories revived me.