Christmas Eve 2015 I lost my older sister. While it wasn’t totally unexpected because she had been struggling for years with health issues, it was still a shock. She was a few months shy of 34, her birthday was in February. It’s always odd to me which details matter to me and which I could care less about. I focus so hard my eyes hurt on how ugly her life was toward the end. How utterly filthy her apartment was. How hurtful the people in her life were. How many stupid choices she made, over and over. This sense of ugly was a stark contrast with the beauty I associate with the potential my sister had. I always felt like she had time to “get it” and get her shit together. But she didn’t. This still makes me feel rage. I did not want her to die young. But if she had to die I wanted it to be beautiful. Full of love.

We can’t control how we die. Or where. Or when. This was the shock part for me. I hate that she died during my favourite time of year and holiday. Now I try to balance how to be with my family and still feel the deepness that grief pulls out of me when I least expect it. My sister always had the worst timing, apparently that includes death too. Yes, this makes me laugh sometimes… but cry other times. I hate that people think they have the right to know details about her death. I know it’s natural to want to know more. It’s a way of trying to understand death and push it further from yourself. I had this same reaction too, until my sister’s death. If someone wants to share the details with you they will, otherwise let it be. Curiosity is not more important than the loss of a loved one and the hole that leaves in people’s lives. Ultimately though, the details don’t fucking matter. Loss is loss, knowing the details won’t change this. Death and grief, just like pregnancy and birth, are incredibly intense and sensitive and selfish and unique to each person.

I choose to remember what I can do with this loss is be conscious about it. I know I will always miss her. I know that the waves of rage and longing will crash over me and sometimes I will laugh, and other times I will cry. I know that this is all normal and healthy and ok. I’m not sure why that normalizing part is so important to so many people, but it is so I will continue to accept that sometimes it is OK to NOT BE OK. I continue to live and love with a conscious heart, even when the vulnerability is close to unbearable because I won’t survive any other way.Roxanna and Heather 2007