Today is my sister's birthday, not Brooke or Meredith, the ones you would've had a chance of meeting. But Blair Denise Taylor, she would be 29 if she were still here breathing in oxygen on this planet. But she's not, she's been gone from us for well over twenty years now. And I have cried. You wouldn't think a loss that old could still produce a wound but it has.
I guess the psychologists call these 'anniversary responses,' or something like that. I don't really care what you call them. They hurt and I wish she was here with me living life beside me. Many years I've been able to breeze past her birthday with hardly a passing thought. It's May that hits me hard. She was hit by a car on a sunny day in May. I was the only eye witness, a little girl, a week shy of her ninth birthday.
I can still see every moment of the accident, I remember the color and texture of the ball I was holding. Some trendy 80s toy, it was blue and yellow in the middle. I can remember my aunt sprinting across the yard to Blair and her holding her in her lap and screaming that someone call 911. I remember the two ambulances coming because they heard the 911 call incorrectly and they thought more than one person was hurt, I wonder if they thought I was hurt too?
Didn't they know I would need an ambulance too? One for my heart? Because my bed sharing, hand holding, constantly fighting, spunky, little sister was gone. The blondish version of a friend I took everywhere with me.
The tears won't stop now. As I have given birth to each of my children, gotten married and watched Brookie get married too, I have wondered... Where is she now? Why is she not here? Would we be as close now as we were then?
She was my partner, my closest sibling in age and in life. There was no replacing her, there never will be. I don't know if Meredith and Kevin felt the pain the same. I know the pain my parents felt was different, intense in a divergent way from mine.
But my pain was the pain of losing a witness to my life. She and I were meant to live together, side by side. She wasn't my child, she was my sister and my friend. And I miss her.
How do you miss someone you haven't seen in 20+ years? How do you miss an adult sister that you never experienced as an adult? I don't know. I can't explain it. I just know the pain. I know that I still love her. I know the pain of explaining who she is to my children when they see pictures with the absent aunt that they will never know. One they will never meet.
Why God? Why won't they get the grace of meeting her? I know the pain of watching my children grow older than my sister ever got to be. I know the panic that sets in every time one of my children reaches the age she was when she died. The panic that God will do to me what he did to my mother and take them. That frantic illogical prayer that is almost heretical in content.
"Please God, don't do to me what you did to my mother, please don't take them" I'm quite sure it is heresy in some way, but my heart screams at me to pray it anyway. As if Blair's death was a mark against my parents, a deliberate act of God against them.
In my better moments I know, I know that God doesn't take children to punish us. He didn't take Blair for that reason. There was no sin so grievous that my parents would have committed that would cause God to be that way to us. After all, lest we forget, God knows what it's like to lose a son. Because his own son died, and he grieved for him.
The way we grieve, as if someone has cut out part of our soul. God knows that pain. He has walked it and he wants to be the one to take away our pain, not the one that creates it.
There are a million questions about evil, death, and destiny we could ask here. But that's not the purpose of this. The purpose of this piece is to allow our pain to be felt. To sit there with it and know that it is necessary for us to be honest about it. We hurt, we don't understand, we question, and cry and scream. God is big enough to take all of that from us. And he is standing there ready to take it the minute we lay it down. But he's not going to yank it from us. He's a gentle God and he won't force us into anything. And he knows far better than we do how important it is for us to allow ourselves to FEEL IT.
We are not to live our life with our hearts and heads disconnected. We are meant to live as full, whole people. So, I sit here today in my yoga pants without a shower, cuddling my daughter, crying, knitting and writing. Because I'm allowing myself to sit with my heart. To feel it. To not be afraid of my pain. Why would I be afraid of something that I know I can lay down? Lay at the feet of God and watch my healing happen.
He is with me, sitting on the couch, present in the smell of my daughter's hair and the comfort of the cello music in the background. He believes in me, he believes in Blair and he knows how much it hurts. I might not like the pain but we're both thankful that I'm enough like God that I can feel it. That I am enough like God himself that I feel pain, just the way he did.