My Sister

Originally Written — October 7, 2007

I had a dream about my sister last night. It wasn’t one of those dreams that you have after someone you love dies, and the person is alive and well, walking, talking and filled with as much verve and purpose as they ever were in real life.

I was at her house. Her husband was there along with other relatives and friends. She was gone. In fact, some time had passed since she had died. It was maybe a year in the future. I still felt this heaviness in my chest, a sadness that you only feel when something irrevocable has happened. There was a futile mist that permeated the atmosphere.

Others were going through her personal possessions – shoes, dresses, jewelry. Even though time had passed, it felt wrong to me. It was painful to see others touching her things with eagerness. I left their house – she lived in Florida – to take a walk, and suddenly I was back home, where she and I grew up, where she wanted so badly to return one last time before she died. That’s how dreams are. You can walk out of a house in Florida and instantly be a thousand miles away.

As I walked down the streets of our childhood, people were lingering around, moving in a slow, aimless amble, and this place that had always been so familiar, now took on an unfamiliar nature. It would not have seemed ominous to anyone else, but it felt all wrong to me.

At first I felt a little uncomfortable, but it quickly increased to a tightness in my chest, continuing to build, and just as it threatened to reach my throat in the form of a curdling scream of full fledged panic, everything magically regained its safe, comfortable and familiar appearance. But the sadness was still there, lingering and festering in my chest and stomach, bubbling at that point at which it could calm to a simmer, or rise to a full boil at a moments notice.

Grief is like that isn’t it. It’s not something static, but rather a living beast who sleeps in the caverns of your soul for awhile, but can wake at a moments notice with a little nudge, and before you know it the beast is in control.

I turned around and began the trip back to my sister’s house – still sad.

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