It’s funny how you can remember exactly what you were doing on certain days. Usually catastrophic days. No one remembers amazingly fantastic days like a slow motion reel in their head.
On this day in 2003 I was on the phone with my friend Matt (whom I sadly haven’t spoken with in years) and I all but hung up on him because my sister was busy dying in the living room. I’m not being flippant. I am pretty sure I yelled at him that I had to go, dropped the phone, and ran down downstairs and held her hand while she struggled to breathe those last few times.
I remember the hospice care worker stepping back. I remember Michael & Sara keeping the boys in the other room. I remember our parents standing by her bed. I remember going over to our dad, who lost a huge part of himself that day. I remember making a million phone calls, but I can’t remember to whom they went. I remember making travel plans. Funeral clothes had already been taken care of. I remember sitting, sort of dazed, because my world was a little bit smaller.
It’s been twelve years. Twelve times we’ve had yahrzeit in her name. Twelve years worth of experiences that are missing her presence.
Yesterday, Sara was in my room and one of my kids made a noise and I stopped mid-sentence because my unconscious brain couldn’t figure out, for just a moment, why it was hearing Erin, when my conscious brain knew that was impossible. It took just a second to sort out that it was one of my own children, but for just a minute I was ready to fly down the stairs and see what was wrong and why Erin was shouting for attention. Did the show end? Is she hungry? Is she just wanting company? A split second and those thoughts ended, but in the split second, it’s amazing how many things can go through your head before time catches up with you and you realize none of them are possible.
I didn’t realize yesterday what day it was. Today my brain wants to tell me Erin was yelling at me to pay attention. Tomorrow will be just another day, like the (roughly) 4380 before it.