It is exactly three years to the day since my beautiful sister died at the age of 37. I've cried so that my eyes are swollen slits. I've even tried haemorrhoid cream to bring them back to normal (and I have included that line quite deliberately; Tanya would have loved the reference to grief and bottoms in the one paragraph).
I'm not going to talk about my sister's death, but I will tell you a bit about her life. Tanya was awesome. She was a lot like me (the awesome parts of me only), but funnier, smarter, prettier, kinder, and with much bigger boobs (which I always envied) and long, long corkscrew curls (which she twirled endlessly in her fingers, driving us all to distraction). On the other hand, she was judgemental, ruminative and had utterly shocking taste in music, unless you like Heavy Metal, in which case she rocked big time.
Tun was 20 months younger than me and was the cutest baby ever. We were always very close, and used to laugh about my parents behind their backs and bitch together about our friends. We got on well even as kids, although obviously we had our fights. I recall hitting her once, when we must have been about seven and five. She cried big tears from her huge eyes, and I was so distraught with remorse that I ended up crying even harder and begging her forgiveness.
Tanya was a shy child but grew up to be hugely popular with both the girls and boys alike. Even though I was older, I often felt like her daggy little sister. She was much more adventurous than me and did exciting things like dating lots of guys and attending rave parties and travelling that I never would have been brave enough to do. And she thought I was hilariously conservative. I got a tattoo in part to prove to her that I wasn't, but sadly by the time I got it I disovered that she'd already got two. And they were much bigger than mine. Cow.
I was always a good girl, and she was the naughty one, but on occasion she inspired me to acts of great badness. I remember vividly my Year 12 concert, where we put on a little show for the rest of the school. Tanya, then in Year 10, had been put on detention for some transgression or another and wasn't allowed to watch. I was outraged. It was MY shiow and there was NO WAY my sister was going to miss it (remember, we didn't have digital cameras then) and I STORMED into the vice principal's office and DEMANDED that he let Tanya attend. It didn't work, of course, but I felt rather proud of my rebellion, and now I can't remember what the hell the show was about anyway.
Tanya was addicted to clothes. She loved singlets, cargos, hoodies, and purple everything. She had closets full. She had far better dress sense than me for most of our lives, but generously (or out of shame that her older sister was wearing green flared pants) would let me come over and look through her wardrobe and choose things to take home. And inevitably, every time I did my husband would look at me up and down, say 'You look great, Tanya gave that to you, right?' and I'd know who was the fashion queen in our family.
Tanya had a series of boyfriends, all handsome, and all absolutely devoted to her. They were all also linked to each other by friendship, like a human man chain. She would date X, then move straight to X's best friend Y, then on to Y's mate Z, before meeting P, who she met at X's party. But the guys all stayed friends, and they all still loved Tanya even after she broke up with them (which, usually, she did). I don't know what she did, but it must have been good.
I could go on and on and on. The time we pierced each other's ears (for a second time) in the bathroom at my Nana's house. The time Tanya encouraged me to ring a boy I liked, and he rejected me, and we got drunk together afterwards. The time we got stoned with some friends on the balcony of a unit in Surfers Paradise and decided that 'Life In A Northern Town' was the all time greatest song EVER, until the next morning. The day my son was born and Tanya was so excited to hear the news she reversed into her gate. The time she exclaimed, when browsing through my tragic collection of CD's, "Oh look, how cute! She has Massive Attack by accident!"
Tanya, BB, I miss you every single day. The kids and I love you so much.