The First Year Deathaversary

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It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since the passing of my younger sister, Jessica. A whole year! Time flies by when you are living, I guess.

It’s been a long and painful year, full of ups and downs. It’s also been a very enlightening and freeing year. Every day I wake up and give thanks to the Universe for helping me break free of so many unhealthy and one-sided friendships. Friendships I had clung to because I am just that kind of caring and loving friend. Friendships that I believed would be forever. I also give thanks, love, kisses and hugs daily to my children, husband, and pets. For without them I wouldn’t be able to function, even a fraction of what I do now. They are the glue that holds me together.

I have spent several of the last few weeks trying to prepare myself for this day. Some people may find it unhealthy to place so much emphasis on the anniversary of a loved one’s passing. I don’t. I find it perfectly normal to get your emotions, thoughts, and memories in order before the day hits. Then again, I’ve seen more death in my lifetime then most and at a younger age. This is why some of the things people say just knock me out cold. I mean do these people even know what it is to lose a sister? We’re not talking about comparison here. We’re not talking about who has suffered more. We’re talking about how someone can tell another person how to deal with something that they’ve never been through! It’s like saying that the pain of giving birth is nothing compared to menstrual cramps, yet you’ve never given birth. That’s like me telling someone who lost their mom to “get over it, it happened while she gave birth to you.” First of all, I’d never say that. One because I am just a caring, sympathetic person and that comment is one only an asshole would utter. Secondly, I’ve never lost a parent yet, knock on wood. So obviously I have never been close to that same situation. Lastly, just because you might not have known your mother doesn’t mean you have no connection to her. You have a connection that nobody else has with her. You have the connection of coming to life and growing inside her and you also have the guilt. Nobody wants to blame anyone but, Lord knows many a child has been shunned and abused by their father or family for “killing” their mother. It’s asinine and it sucks and well… people can just be irresponsible loudmouth jerks.

I don’t just mourn one day a year. I mourn throughout the year. A happy memory from my childhood could start out so wonderful and the more my mind remembers the bond we once shared the more painful it becomes… Then walks in the guilt, shame, regret, and the tears. Let’s not forget the tears that strike at any given moment. And usually, when this happens I become distant, as I try to remove the horrific pain from my soul. I revert to that scared little child looking for a place to hide from the monsters that were enclosing upon me. I don’t do it intentionally, it’s automatic, instantaneous, habitual, and it’s how I grew up without being more screwed up then I already am.

If you’ve never lost someone you know, count yourself lucky because it never is easy and won’t get any easier as you age either. It’s a painful thing to experience and even though you try and tell yourself that they are in a better place with no more pain, you can’t help but to question why you are left to carry the painful burden. Why do some people get out and some of us have to stay and experience more than our fair share of suffering? Outliving those you love has to be one of the most stressful things you could ever experience.

It reminds me of my grandma who has outlived all of her siblings. (She is the oldest of 4.) How excruciating it must be to have none of them left. To have no parents left. To only have your grown children, and grown grandchildren (1 of the 4 gone a year now), and great-grandchildren left. But, she doesn’t have all of them with her. All she has at this very moment is my mom. The rest of us are too far away and some of the great-grandkids don’t even know of her and may never know her. That is some very sad sad shit if you ask me. I know she puts on a brave face but, just as I know how much it hurts me, I know it hurts her a lot too. Death sucks bigtime!

So the next time a person decides to tell another person who they should care for, who they should mourn for, how long they should mourn, etc… Bite your damn tongue!

As the Cherokee Proverb goes:

“Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.”

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand this because they think it’s easy to just put on someone’s shoes and that’s that. So let me give you one more, so you really grasp what it is I am saying to you…

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

We all need time to handle our unresolved business. And nothing is more unresolved then a loved one who dies suddenly. Nothing can be resolved when you don’t get to say good-bye. There is no peace of mind when it comes to all the questions that will never be answered. There is no possible way to “just let it go and move on” when no one is held accountable.

If you want to help someone who is hurting, mourning, grieving, dying in mind, soul, and heart… send them your love. Send them your sympathy. Let them know that it even though she wasn’t your sister you hurt because you see your friend hurting. Check up on her and let her know she isn’t alone. That’s all you can do.

And trust me when I say, anything else that you might think is helpful but comes off asinine will be met with rudeness and anger. Do you want your friend to curse at you for being a jerk? No, you don’t! Keep in mind this little bit of information… Everyone dies eventually and there will come a time when death will strike in your home. Don’t be left alone without comfort from your friends because you thought they were taking too long to heal over their loss. You will find out soon enough that healing on the inside always takes longer than healing on the outside.

As for this day, well… it had its ups and downs. (Look for my favorite moment from today on Friday.) I cried a lot here and there. Wiped my tears, loved on my children, drank some wine, listened to The Beatles and John Lennon, burned meditation candles, stared at Buddha while the candles flickered, laughed a bit, cried some more, loved on all my friends who came to my side, and well… I got through the first year deathaversary of my sister, Jessica Rae.

And to my mom, grandma, grandpa, and brother…I love you more than there are stars in the heavens. Even if I don’t believe in a heaven per se… I believe that Jess is among the stars waiting for us. Right now all we can do is be the best people we can be while we are here. Forgive those who’ve wronged us… that hate is only hurting us, we don’t need more hurt. Love those who are still here… they need our love and we need theirs. “Love is the answer.”

May you all be safe, sound, and find the strength to be where I am at!

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14 thoughts on “The First Year Deathaversary

  1. Pamanner says:

    I don’t “like” the fact that you are hurting. I don’t “like” the reality that cancer took your little sister away from you. I “like” the fact that you tell us how you are feeling, remind us to appreciate what is good in our lives, and emphasize that we can’t understand unless we have experienced loss. There is no time limit on grief. Love you and you’ve been in my thoughts. . .

    Oh, yeah, and cancer SUCKS.

  2. The Social Frog says:

    Thank you for being so incredibly blunt. Often people don’t see past the first few months of someone else grieving. My wish and goal is to not forget that person or persons grief and that it does not go away. I don’t know you at all, but through your writing you bring me in closer to knowing. I really am sorry for your loss and I wish I had the right words, I am sending you many, many hugs!!

  3. Terrie says:

    Jennifer sweetheart, I am so very touched by your love and devotion to family, YOU are at the very tip top of the greatest things that have ever happened to me… I love you soooooo much! I feel your emotion and passion for all of life and I am so very very proud to be your Mother (Jessi and Orion too)!!! And… this to shall pass… the burden will become lighter with time, this wisdom and knowing comes with age.

    **Jessica… we all love you dearly and miss you… beyond mortal words!**

  4. Andy says:

    Hello Jenni.
    I’m sorry for your loss. I truly am. May Jessica RIP.
    My dad passed away when I was only a teenager. He’s been gone more than 25 years. The other day I was listening to some Indian music & all of a sudden I started to cry. My wife rushed over to me concerned & asked me what was wrong. When I was able to compose myself, I told her the song I was listening to was one of my dad’s favorite & hearing it just set me off. She hugged me, kissed me, cried with me, dried my tears & told me she loves me & it’s ok to cry because I still love my dad. That love lives in me, in my heart, along with my memories of him.
    I’m thinking of you Jenni & sending you lots of love & hugs. ♥♥♥

  5. Corinne Rodrigues says:

    Jenni sweetie…Jessica will be reading this and cheering her wonderfully brave sister – the woman who feels the pain and goes beyond it too to fight for a cause, the woman who sees injustice and is not scared to fight for it and the woman who has a very big heart. ♥

  6. rimly says:

    I agree with Corinne Jenni. I too have had my share of loss and no can ever feel the pain that the one who has lost goes through. I am glad you have your children and husband who are there for you. Lots of love to you dear friend.

  7. Bongo says:

    My sweet friend Jenni…How I love your honesty…I wish I could be right there with you today and everyday..you are on of the strongest bravest people I know..and no one ever has the right to tell anyone else how to grieve..everyone grieves in their own time in there own way..there is no time limit for grief….I love you my friend……sending you warm hugs,,,,As always,….XOXOXOXOOXOX

  8. Susan Deborah says:

    As many of them have mentioned, you are quite point-blank about how you feel. I admire the way you have shared with us your journey after a loss. Big hugs to you dear Jen and remember that Jessica is there, maybe not in body but through you, your thoughts and through the others who knew her and loved her.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  9. Scattered Musings of A Creative Mind says:

    I know when I want something straight up this is the place to come. Sorry you’re hurting dear Jen. It hurts and it’s OK to hurt and feel. It is a blessing you have your family their during this hard time for you. May your sweet sister RIP.

  10. Mary Hudak-Colllins says:

    My dear Jenni, everyone deals with their loss in their own unique way. No way is right or wrong. I thank you for your candidness of your post. Your sister would be very proud of you and your determination in your cause. Don’t ever let go of that 🙂

  11. tumultuousjourney says:

    Always here for you to share. Your honest forthright expression of grief and anger is refreshing. I am glad you have your family to hold close and I am also glad you have let go of those that would hurt and not help you heal. <3<3<3

Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare. -Voltaire

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