Thursday, January 20, 2005

As January Comes to a Close

It’s about that time again…

No, not football play offs or the superbowl, not the beginning of a new semester, not the days of never-ending snowfall. No, the end of January signifies something very different for me and forever will. All because of a day back in October of 1994. This January, my sister would have been 25.

January 29, 1980. Tracey Blackwell’s birthday.

October 8, 1994. The day she died.

That’s only 5,351 days of life. Not nearly enough in my book. Says so right here… *points* “Not nearly enough”.

When I was younger, I did the math and figured out the day I would become older than my older sister. I was in middle school, and don’t remember the day anymore, but what I do remember is how I didn’t feel any different. Another milestone passed and nothing happened. You turn 18, you don’t feel any different. You turn 21, everything’s the same. And now my dead sister would have been 25. Which really doesn't mean anything... but it makes me think.

Throughout high school when something happened to me that I deemed important, I’d think about how Tracey never got to experience whatever it was. No driver’s license, no first car, no prom, no graduation. I always wondered what she would have been like, how she would have grown up, what she wanted to do with her life. No college searches, no declaration of majors, no all nighters, no favorite professors, no parties, and again - no graduation. And as I head into my last semester of graduate school, and it grows closer to her birthday, I think about it all again. No grad school searches, no identity crisis, no career plans. Hell, who even knows what her future might have been like. Maybe she wouldn’t have wanted to go to grad school. Maybe her life would have been completely different from my own. Maybe what should be listed is - no first great love, no broken hearts, no husband, no kids of her own. And I guess that's the real tragedy. When you really think about it, the thing that matters most in life - is love.

So, these were the things I always thought about in regards to her death. How unfair it was, and what she was missing. How leukemia ruined everything. And how I still had no explanation as to why it all went down like it did. I struggled with it silently for a while. My family didn’t talk about it, and at the time I don’t think I would have been strong enough for that conversation anyway. Maybe I’m still not. I blamed God. Then I stopped believing in him altogether. Then I pretended to accept it.

And then I met J who sort of called me on it, and helped me sort through everything. She's got an amazing future as a psychologist.

Now, 10 years after her death, I’m finally getting closer to acceptance. I think.

And here’s why: I finally hit the weird selfish stage. Today I wasn’t thinking about all the things she missed out on, but all of the things I missed, not having her around. I mean, we were tight, when we were young. We told each other pretty much everything. And she was 13 months older than me. Meaning she had a heads up on everything that was coming my way. Just think of all the insights she would have had for me, the great advice, the help through all the coming of age drama. The friendship, the support, the years of memories.

I can only imagine what kind of a person I would have turned out to be with her influence to help shape me as we both grew up together. I feel like I would have been a better person. I feel as if I would have been more open and less cynical.

But we’ll never know.

Twenty-five. Tracey would have been twenty-five this year. A quarter of a century old. Yet, she missed a decade of it. More importantly, so did I. So did my family. And so did the rest of the world.

I miss you, Trace. But I love you more. And that's what's important.


End Blog.

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