It’s been two and a half months.
Christmas has come and gone, and it was especially hard this year because you’re not here anymore. Because I didn’t get to see you like we said we would in August. I always looked forward to seeing you and T during the holidays for as long as I could remember.
Your passing has been completely unfamiliar terrain for me. I’ve never lost a loved one in this way. I’ve never dealt with grief in this way. Most of my friends didn’t really know how to comfort me or talk to me about this, and I didn’t blame them. But there are a few who have gone through losses of their own that I have been able to lean on and take comfort in.
I want you to know that been doing pretty well for the most part. I’ve done my best to keep moving forward with my life. Good things have been happening in my life the last 2 months; I think you’d be proud of me. But sometimes when I feel happy, I feel guilty that I’m not sad.
As if somehow, my being happy is disrespectful to your memory and to our loss.
I wanted to tell you all about my life this Christmas. I wanted to tell you about all the new and exciting changes. I wanted to give you updates on everything we talked about in August. I wanted to hear all about your semester, and how exams were tough but you nailed them all, and how much fun you were having with your friends in your cohort.
Sometimes when I absentmindedly scroll through social media, I *swear* I see your handle in the list of names, and I have to do a double take to ensure that it isn’t you who’s liked or viewed something I posted. As if there had been some grave mistake and you were somehow still with us. Impossible scenario to wish for, but the type that never really goes away.
And because you are the sister I never had, sometimes I just want to shout, how could you do this?! You’re such a damn perfectionist, J. In another life, you would’ve seen that even though you felt overwhelmed, there isn’t a mountain that you can’t conquer. That nothing in life is perfect. That disarray is part of the process. But I know you fought the hardest battle that you could fight. You were and are a source of strength and quiet determination.
Since you passed, I have been wanting to donate to the crisis centre & hotline in BC. I wanted to use this tragic story to raise awareness about depression and mental health, especially given the context in which our shared community exists. But I put it off again and again because it was laced with finality and facing the truth of what happened.
And last night, upon reflecting on the holiday season and how not seeing you this Christmas was all the finality I needed, I finally did it. It’s time to enter the new year on a clean page, a fresh start, closing the chapter on one fucking rollercoaster of a year.
I’m never going to forget you, J. You’ll always be my sister, even if in spirit.