Grief Springs Forward
Well, it is the month of your birth. You would be 51 in 9 days. It has been almost three months since you died. We would already have had our St Patrick’s Day mockery banter consisting of me texting you photos from Walgreens of green plastic hats, plastic beads, and plastic beer mugs exhibiting pithily phrased quotes regarding drunken shenanigans. I would have condescendingly uttered one of my predictable pretentious asshole speeches about the jackasses who put so much effort into behaving like drunk morons. Of course, you would not have noticed how this was a crafty projection of my child of an alcoholic wound. We would have referred to that one year when I was living with you in San Diego, and we went to the bars on St Patrick’s Day. For me, it was a celebration of sober eye-rolling while having a post-traumatic induced judgment party in my head.
I was too young back then to realize how my inner child was being triggered left and right by all of the alcoholism I was witnessing. You, however, got into a fistfight with a tattooed surfer guy wearing an arm cast. I had to pull you away and safely escort you home, as usual, walking through the back alleys of Pacific Peach party headquarters. I was 21, and you were 25. While we invincibly waltzed through the nocturnal, dimly lit palm treed streets, little did we know that a darkly, tragic fate was meticulously orchestrated for you by the heavens of destiny. Your rapturous addiction demons would make their grand finale leading to your untimely demise right before Christmas in a Denver Hospital. The voyeuristic full moon would peer at us in a hospital room, 25 years after that St Patricks Day in the San Diego grunge era 90’s observing me sit beside your life support ornamented, dying bedside.
But why didn’t we know? Anyone with half of a non-denial, non-codependent, unenmeshed brain would have seen the obviousness of it all. I know I did so many times but was silenced and censored into submission of the “family loyalty” variety.
There were the usual mundane alcohol binges. How about ecstasy filled weekends raving until 7 am while the pink sun humorously crept up the rungs of the morning horizon. Your multiple coke dealers were on speed dial. The voluminously filled ziplock baggies of MDMA capsules played hide and seek in your closet available for sale so we could reap the complimentary perks. The abundant splendor of men and one night stands graced your weekend regimen like a morning alarm clock on a workday. There was even more coke. Always, more coke. The normality of grams, eight balls, mirrors, rolled-up cash, jaw grinding, weight loss solutions, mania producing, and depression reducing, were some of your most treasured ways of seeking a high. The devastating lows ensued and ravaged your psyche, causing you to explore even more creative ways to encounter pleasure. You would have quite the repotoire of chasing highs over 25 years. You would also have some calm and normality, delivered in the roles of wife, mother, grad student, snowboarder, and chef. However, interlaced among health issues and hopelessness about your life purpose was an unquenched mission to feel high. You upped your game over the last five years of your life. Needles replaced commonplace snorting. Your tastes in men morphed exponentially into a multitude of secrets and lies. Yes, we should have known. We probably should have intervened. We should have set better boundaries. We should have done so many things that I am guessing will softly whisper the lyrics of regret in our ears for years to come.
You were the epitome of fun, wild, free, uninhibited, insane, out of control, brilliant, narcissistic, irresponsible, destructive, creative, bi-polar, addicted, reckless, magic, tragic, entertaining, miserable, and an enigma wrapped into one fucking undeniably unique brand of a human being. You were my sister, and I went along for the roller coaster rides, making sure to buckle myself in extra tightly, knowing the trip would be dangerously and excitingly wild.
I babysat you, lectured you, counseled you, was boundaryless, enabled you, removed myself from you, and fought with you. I tried to love you in the best little sister way that I knew how based on the array of complexities that were a life-long guarantee.
So, you should know that less than 90 days in of grieving your death, it is a mystifying mind and heart fuck. You should know that I spent the last 2.5 months depressed and angry. I have been subservient to my victimhood. I have been uninspired, wallowing in the childhood wounds I thought had long passed, feeling guilty, feeling resentful, hating you, missing you, and mostly just grieving the relationship we will never be able to have. Slowly, the faint lights of love and gratitude are permeating through your death’s abysmal infrastructure as Spring’s gentleness gifts a friendly nod.