January 2, 2010

To Those Who Have Lost Someone - Happy New Year

I was going to begin this post with an apology - an apology for not being funny. All the other posts on this blog are humorous. I hope...

But then I realised: life isn't always funny. I'm not always funny. My life is often hysterically ridiculous, but can also be tough, painful, desperately sad, confusing and mundane. And your life, no doubt, is the same.

Last year was a very difficult year for me and I was thrilled to see in the new decade. I celebrated with a small group of very close friends, and enjoyed every minute of our little party. The kids played, the adults ate and drank, and we all gathered together in the wind to watch the fireworks explode.

And then at midnight, I thought of my sister.

2010, I thought. She will never see 2010.

My sister didn't see 2009, either, or 2008. She died at the end of 2007, just before my daughter was born. But every year is another year she will never see. And this is the first decade I have welcomed in without her.

My sister will never see my new house. She won't see my son start his new school. She won't see my daughter go to creche, or my big girl play the violin. She won't laugh or sing or cry or watch TV or travel or get outraged at some injustice or argue over the dinner table ever again.

I miss my sister. Whenever anything happens that I normally would share with her, my first instinct is still to call her. When Michael Jackson died. When Joe Perrone came onto Twitter. When a highly non-maternal acquaintance of ours became pregnant. My reflex is to reach for the phone, to gossip with her about it. Then I remember she's not around.

Then there is the guilt, the guilt that accompanies all my happiness. Why should I experience such good fortune, such bounty, when she is unable to? I got the children, the husband, the home, the friends, the life. Why me? Why did I get so lucky and she lost it all?

A friend once advised me to be happy for both of us, to grasp for myself all the joy my sister will never be able to have. That, said my friend, is what my sister would have wanted. But it doesn't work like that. You can't live for someone else, any more than you can give them your own life.

We all have just one life to live. I have mine, you have yours. Whatever good fortune, or grief, comes our way, we have to move through it, and move forward. We're here for such a short time, and anything can happen. And we all deserve to be as happy as we possibly can.

So for anyone who has lost someone, have a beautifully happy new year.

And for those who have not, good. Hug your loved ones, have a great new year, and enjoy.

39 comments:

  1. Loved it. Crying now, but loved it. It's funny when someone dies, there's the intial stages of grieving but the things that hit home are when you realise stuff you used to do, you just can't anymore. Everytime I walk through the shoppping centre that I used to take Mum on a regular basis, it hits home. The thing is we never particularly did anything there. But it was our thing, much like you and your sister could just discuss that stuff that sometimes, only the two of you would understand and enjoy. x

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  2. Hugs. Strength and love.

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of writing with us. You so do deserve to be happy and I hope that you never forget that.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Kerri, that was beautifully written.

    Happy New Year to you xoxox

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  4. Beautiful, heartfelt, honest post, Kerri.

    As you already know, I lost a sister too. I was very young when she died though (7mths), so I obviously don't remember her. I mourn for what I never had with her. And when my children were born, I mourned again the fact that she would never see them.

    But I also believe she does see. When my first son was very young, he looked off to one side when I was changing his nappy and was smiling. Not at me. At the distance. I said to him, "What's up? Is Aunty Valda making you laugh?"

    About a month later, I was talking to my Mum (whom I watched ache for my sister every day of her life) and she said my niece had visited a psychic medium (like John Edward). Now, I'm a very healthy sceptic about these people. I believe some have the gift, but there are many who pretend to who do not. But my niece sees them quite regularly, and she gives nothing away to them so she can work out which ones she believes.

    Anyway, this was a young girl, and she told my niece she was getting someone, starting with the letter V who had died quite some time ago. My niece immediately thought Valda. She then asked if there was a new baby in the family? My niece said yes, and explained that her Aunt (me) had just had a baby. The girl said, "Valda said to tell you that she makes the baby laugh."

    When my Mum told me that, I can't describe how I felt. I think it was mostly relief. After I hung up the phone, I broke down and cried and could hardly breathe. To me, it was Valda's way of showing me that she did see my son and was with us. At least, I hope that's the case.

    And so, I do believe they are with us. It's not quite the same as them being physically here, but Kerri, I feel very confident that your sister is watching over you, and I'm quite certain she'd be very, very proud of you, your life, and this post.

    All my love to you.

    Jodie x

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  5. This was beautiful. I lost my Grandmother last year, and whilst she WAS 99 and had an amazingly fulfilling life, I miss her often and there are many times since July when I've wanted to get in the car and go visit her, but alas, I just have to talk to her from my heart.

    Losing someone close really makes you appreciate every moment of every day that you have with your family and friends.

    Love and happy New Year

    N x

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  6. Lovely post Kerri. Happy New Year to you and your family xx

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  7. Beautiful post kerri! I thankyou through my tears for sharing this with us! I can't imagine the pain you feel losing a sister - sisters are like nothing else. But I like to think the loved ones live on through our memories. I say a prayer today for you and your family. And send much love! Xx

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  8. I understand wholeheartedly every single word and feeling in this post.
    I'll share my story one day, but for now Kerri, thank you. For articulating what and how I feel on a daily basis. x

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  9. Death touches all of us, whether it be friends, family or both.Society doesn't prepare us to cope with death, but we feel grief and loss because we care, and that's what makes us who we are. We CARE, and that's what defines us.xxx

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  10. Thank you for writing this and sharing so much of your life.
    Thank you.
    I could add my tales of what has happened to me, but i don't want to.
    This is enough.
    Thank you.
    *hugs*

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  11. Thank you for such a beautiful post. I too lost my sister (who was also my best friend) years back and feel these same things. Time passes and you learn to deal in a way but things are never the same. Even though i didn't know her and don't know you i somehow get the feeling she would be very proud of you and your strength.
    Rev 21:3,4.

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  12. Beautiful. Thank you, that is all...

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  13. It's funny in a way i have lost many people important to my world and i still forget they are gone until soemthing comes up. My nonno died 15 years ago but this year for Christmas i made his special cake and i sobbed through most of it. My best friend went 2007 and i still have his number in my phone i can't bear to delete it.
    I watched my friends son's dancing concert and had a hard time not too cry at what my firend would never see and what his kids will never have. I keep waiting for time to heal these wounds but it just doesn't seem to have happened yet any ideas??

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  14. Kerri,

    I mentioned to you a few days ago via Twitter that you and I must have been best friends in a previous life. It would take a long time for me to try and get into how many of your posts I've already read that could have been posted from my own blog (especially the "Simon Says Sex" post). It's truly unbelievable and amazing to me.

    With that said, this post really took a forceful tug at my heart strings. I appreciate you taking the time to share what you're feeling regarding the loss of your sister. I'm sorry that you and your family have had to experience this, and my wish and prayer for you is that each passing day, month, and year will find you immersed in more and more happiness and love with your family. (That and that ONE of us finally meets Simon Baker in person!) :-)

    Much love to you, pretty lady. Happy New Year!

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  15. You summed it up perfectly. Only yesterday I was saying to friends that I've attended more funerals in my relatively short life for people I love than I have attended weddings. Way more. Why were we having this conversation? Because I'm attending another one on Tuesday.

    This is a beautiful post Kerri. Thank you for making the remembering of those that we have lost not something that we should just 'get over'. You never get over it do you?

    We just keep remembering all of the good, fabulous, fun times.

    Hugs.

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  16. I have nothing new to say that your other followers haven't already said, and beautifully at that.

    I am so sorry for your loss, I know it never goes away and I'm so glad you shared such an honest, raw post with us, your dedicated readers. I love your funny posts but it is also so nice to be let into your world, even when it reveals such pain.

    Wishing you and your family many more happy new years together xxx

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  17. Firstly thank you to all, for your truly touching comments. I can't describe how much they mean to me. And I very much hope that it helps those who've been bereaved to know that others understand. I know that it helps me.
    To Melissa:
    It's a tough one. I don't know if the wounds 'heal', per se. I do know that these days, I can sometimes think about my sister and smile, remembering the funny things we did together. Then at other times I'll break down for no apparent reason. But I'm okay with that. In a way, it comforts me that I am still so connected to her (and to her loss)that I can feel it so keenly.
    My belief is that over time, the periods between big, sobbing breakdowns become longer, and there are more times when you can look back and smile. But I do think I'll continue to have periods of tremendous grief throughout my whole life. Which is fine by me. My sister deserves to be mourned forever.
    Hope that helps.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  18. Oh yes, my first instinct is still to pick up the phone and ring my grandmother. And that kick in the guts feeling when you can't.

    xx

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  19. Babe, I'm fortunate enough to still have my sister here on Earth. Even though we don't talk as often as we should, she's such a part of me that I know I'd be lost without her.

    I'm so sorry that you have had to experience such loss and that you continue to miss that special part of your heart that is your sibling...hope 2010 can make your spirit smile so much brighter...

    And remember, you don't need to always be the laughing clown with us - we love you every which way...happy, sad, whatever xoxoxoxox

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  20. Kerri,
    Funny or thoughtful, silly or wistful, contemplative, nostalgic or simply 'laugh-out-loud', you always write beautifully and from a place so many of us recognise.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartfelt slice of your grief surrounding the loss of your sister. I am so sorry for your sadness and the things you have missed - and continue to miss.

    Sitting with sadness can help to heal and opening that experience up to others helps them to sit with their own sadness too. Hugs to you as you remember.

    Jayne xx

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  21. Sometimes you just cannot make sense of a loss, in the past year I have seen two adult males in my life pass away, both times it felt so senseless. I don't think you can live your life for another but I believe you can carry the memory of them close to your heart and enjoy simple pleasures in their honour. Like your NYE celebration.

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  22. Thank you for such a lovely read. It was a raw & honest post & it would have been difficult to write - so thank you for your strength in doing so.
    We had a really tough 2009 with losses of near & dear family members. My father in law insisted that we get on with our lives when he left ours - & we are, but it seems so selfish to do so. We miss him terribly each day & are going through all the firsts now - the first NY we won't hear from him, the first of our birthdays without him, the first time we won't celebrate anything with him ever again.
    But life goes on & all we can keep doing is continue doing things that we know would have made him proud, make sure his life wasn't in vain by honouring what was important to him & mostly by keeping his memory alive through the way in which we live our lives.
    Happy new year to you. Take care.

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  23. So true. Every word.

    I think of my brothers, I think of my father (in some deep dark part of me) but mostly I think of my son, who will never know the world as I know it. never know his brother and sisters, his cousins, his grandparents. Never see the beauty of life.

    Beautiful post.

    Thank you.

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  24. I don't think you ever get over stuff. I think you just get used to it.

    xxx

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  25. I hope you have many, many beautiful memories of your sister and you together. xxx

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  26. thank you for your heartfelt post...I lost my sister in July 09. She was 62, and in fine health. She just died in her sleep, and the jury is still out about 'why'. I think she just checked out...things had been so very tough for her. I missed her all around Christmas and NYE as well..I thought of her unconditional, unreserved warmth and her familiar brown eyes looking into mine, as I shared my stories with her. She was my elder sister, so in some ways replaced my mother for me, when my mother died nearly 12 years ago. There's something about sisters though. It feels like if I were a tree, a big branch got lobbed off. And now there's a gap. Even though we didn't always get on so well, there's nothing like a sister...Have a great new year, and I find comfort in knowing that there's a beat in my heart for her, which will always be there..With love

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  27. It must have been fate that led me to follow your blog today. This Saturday marks one year since my Mum passed away (she was a young 70 - I am 31). My husband and I have just bought a new house and in some ways I dread moving in, as it will be a place that Mum has never seen. I have also changed jobs since she died, so I feel like my life would be unrecognisable to her. My biggest regret is that she never got to be a grandmother. Christmas Day when we went to the cemetery was so shocking for me, as the normally bare field was covered in a field of flowers and there were people everywhere. It made me feel less lonely in my grief, but sad that so many people feel such pain and loss.

    Thanks for a beautiful post. I was annoyed to be back at work today, but now I am grateful that I am lucky or privileged enough to still be around to work, sing, dance, play and enjoy life.

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  28. You write so beautifully! I'm new to your blog but will now be a regular. Thank you for sharing your stories. What an inspiration you are!

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  29. I was thinking about my father this New Years Eve. He died in January 2000, so it's now ten years since he passed, which for some reason seems like some sort of milestone. He has missed so much of my life - my marriage and the birth of my child being the main things. I always miss him. I think as time goes on you do learn to live without them, but you always miss them, especially at big occasions. xx

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  30. My Mum died last year and sometimes the pain is so raw it hurts to breathe. I see her in the supermarket and I think Oh there's Mum and then it isn't her.

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  31. Sue (just leithal)January 4, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    Thankyou. We all have stories I have come to realise. Thankyou for sharing yours.

    The thought that you should grasp for yourself all the joy your sister will never be able to have I think should be: live your own life to the full. Every extra day we get is a bonus that shouldn't be taken for granted.

    Live a good life well.

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  32. CHristmas day at my in laws,we lissen to some old family tapes, and this years like all years we lissen to my father in law talking,this time he is talking to my husband when he was a child, my son hasn't know is grampa, he passed away while I was 7 month pregnamt with my son, and I am so thankfull to tecnology, that my son can hear is grampa, and ad a little feel of the great man he was, thank you for sharing your beautiful story, love ooxx

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  33. Sue (just leithal)April 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Thankyou. We all have stories I have come to realise. Thankyou for sharing yours.

    The thought that you should grasp for yourself all the joy your sister will never be able to have I think should be: live your own life to the full. Every extra day we get is a bonus that shouldn't be taken for granted.

    Live a good life well.

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  34. Beautiful, heartfelt, honest post, Kerri.

    As you already know, I lost a sister too. I was very young when she died though (7mths), so I obviously don't remember her. I mourn for what I never had with her. And when my children were born, I mourned again the fact that she would never see them.

    But I also believe she does see. When my first son was very young, he looked off to one side when I was changing his nappy and was smiling. Not at me. At the distance. I said to him, "What's up? Is Aunty Valda making you laugh?"

    About a month later, I was talking to my Mum (whom I watched ache for my sister every day of her life) and she said my niece had visited a psychic medium (like John Edward). Now, I'm a very healthy sceptic about these people. I believe some have the gift, but there are many who pretend to who do not. But my niece sees them quite regularly, and she gives nothing away to them so she can work out which ones she believes.

    Anyway, this was a young girl, and she told my niece she was getting someone, starting with the letter V who had died quite some time ago. My niece immediately thought Valda. She then asked if there was a new baby in the family? My niece said yes, and explained that her Aunt (me) had just had a baby. The girl said, "Valda said to tell you that she makes the baby laugh."

    When my Mum told me that, I can't describe how I felt. I think it was mostly relief. After I hung up the phone, I broke down and cried and could hardly breathe. To me, it was Valda's way of showing me that she did see my son and was with us. At least, I hope that's the case.

    And so, I do believe they are with us. It's not quite the same as them being physically here, but Kerri, I feel very confident that your sister is watching over you, and I'm quite certain she'd be very, very proud of you, your life, and this post.

    All my love to you.

    Jodie x

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  35. You summed it up perfectly. Only yesterday I was saying to friends that I've attended more funerals in my relatively short life for people I love than I have attended weddings. Way more. Why were we having this conversation? Because I'm attending another one on Tuesday.

    This is a beautiful post Kerri. Thank you for making the remembering of those that we have lost not something that we should just 'get over'. You never get over it do you?

    We just keep remembering all of the good, fabulous, fun times.

    Hugs.

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  36. I understand wholeheartedly every single word and feeling in this post.
    I'll share my story one day, but for now Kerri, thank you. For articulating what and how I feel on a daily basis. x

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