Let me start off by thanking everyone for their continued support over the last ten years. Thank you for the keeping her memories alive on her memorial, it means a lot to our family. Everyone lost a little something in their hearts the day that Susie passed. I decided to write a 10 year reflection in honor of my sister. A lot of people think that I have never dealt with my sister's passing. While I have nothing to prove to anyone, I have. Everyone deals with death in their own ways. There is no right or wrong way to cope. The stages of grief are universal and be experienced by people from all walks of life. Everyone spends the time they need going through each stage.
5 Stages of grief:
- Denial & Isolation
The one thing that I learned about grief is that you need to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong it.
For those of you worried about me, I PROMISE I AM FINE! I felt writing an open letter to my sister is all part of the healing process. I also feel like my sister is owed something more from me as I write on her memorial year after year the same thing. If this blog post can comfort or help just one person, then my job here is done.
Susan Elizabeth 7/17/85- 3/12/07
Ten years. It is so hard to believe that you were taken from us ten years ago. A lot of people’s lives came to a halt that day. So many people lost something so special that day, I lost a sister, but others lost a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a friend. The hardest part to grasp is that you are gone forever. No more laughs, no more arguments, no more anything.
I know that what happened was a tragic accident. For the first few years I carried around hatred for the driver of the vehicle. Why? Because to me, he was the one that took you away from us. It took me a while to understand that this was not intentional and it was truly an accident. It was not easy but I finally overcame the hatred. I never thought of what it was like for the 3 other people involved in the accident and what they also went through that day. Nor did I understand what it is was like for your boyfriend to hold you while you left this world in his arms. Its truly unimaginable. Our family knows that you had finally found your one true love, even if it was for a short period of time. That to us brings us a little more peace.
As I sit here and look back over the last ten years I see how much of life you missed out on and it deeply saddens me.There were no guidelines or textbooks on how to help cope with losing you, only clichéd quotes and the comfort of others could help us get through the tough times.
“I cannot call you on the phone anymore, but in my heart, I talk to you every day.”
“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”
“We don’t just grieve the moment our loved one passes, we grieve the past, the future, and now. Our loved ones are more than a moment in time.”
“I sit here and ponder how very much I’d like to talk with you today.There are so many things that we didn’t get to say,I know how much you love me and how much I love you. And each time that I think of you I know you’ll miss me too. An angel came and took you by the hand and said your place was ready in Heaven, far above…And you had to leave behind all those you dearly loved. You had so much to live for; you had so much to do…It still seems impossible that God was taking you. And though your life on earth is past, in Heaven it starts a new. You’ll live for all eternity, just as God has promised you. And though you’ve walked through Heaven’s gateway are never far apart. For every time I think of you, your right here, Deep with-in my heart”
“You don’t get over it, you get through it.. It doesn’t get better, it gets different.."
As teenyboppers, I hated listening to this song with you. Why? Because every time we would listen to it, you would tell me "I want this song to be played at my funeral." Now the song brings me peace and it will forever be your song.
Another song that reminds me of you is "See you again." We saw Wiz Khalifa live on the Jimmy Kimmel show in May 2015. That is when I fell in love with this song. It is very rare that I fall that in love with a song the first time hearing it. As I sit here proofing this post before I go live, this song comes on Pandora. I smile with tears of happiness, because to me this is a sign.
It's been a long day without you, my friend
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began
Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We see you all around us. It might be a story that we were recollecting or looking at the photographs of you all over our home. Your rosary card is hung proudly over your niece's dresser. She looks at it and points from time to time, I tell her "That is your Aunt Susie, and she is your guardian angel." Our family sees you most in Mabel. With her auburn curly hair and deep blue eyes and sassy attitude, we KNOW that part of you continues to live on. We of course know that your niece is her own little person, but I am so grateful that the little pieces of you show up everywhere. I am waiting for the day that your niece takes my make-up and I ask her “Did you take my make-up?” If she replies with “If I took it, I don’t remember taking it” I might just have to hold back my laughter and then let her off the hook.
You were funny at times, without meaning to be, but you would be the first one to laugh at yourself. You taught me to see the humor in my shortcomings. I tried so hard to remember that when we were dealing with unnecessary drama. We would often tell ourselves “What would Susie do?” Then we would remember you wouldn’t care, you wouldn’t give into people’s negativity, you always focused in on the positive and always seemed to remain happy.
We have seen the world through a similar lens and we shared an irreplaceable bond like no other. I look back on our childhood and remember all the silly things we would do together. I have started a journal of our memories because I want to forever cherish the memories that we shared together, good or bad. I am thankful that we have all of our childhood Christmas’s, Birthdays and just random days on video. My head is flooded with so many treasured memories; for that, I am grateful.
I always imagined how our lives would unfold, how our children would play together. I looked forward to the day of becoming an “Aunt” to your children and you being “Aunt Susie” to mine. Unfortunately that day will never come. I will forever make sure that your niece knows ALL about you. I remember Grandma always telling us about her and brother and keeping his memories alive. I also remember Grandma telling us when we would bicker “You two need to love each other, this is the only sister/sibling you will ever have.” If that was not foreshadowing I do not know what was.
Susie, I love you with every part of my being. You are forever my sister and always will be. Nothing you do could ever tear us apart. Not even death. It is an honor to call you my sister. I might not have seen it at times, as I am sure you felt the same. I have been truly blessed to have you in my life, even if it seemed like a blink of an eye. I know you will continue to live on within and you will protect us like you have been doing for the past ten years.
"Hold every memory as you go, And every road you take, will always lead you home."
Forever in my heart,
Your big sister
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That is a truly lovely tribute to Susie.
I didn't know her well, but through your letter I can see and feel the love you shared.
You a both very special women, and we love you and only wish we lived closer!
Thank you Debbie, Susie will always remain close to my heart and will never be forgotten. We love you all as well and wish there was not so much distance between us. <3