"Happy Katie's birthday."


I've lost your pink pen somehow.  Sometime during the last move.  I'm using the small silver one now, with "The Ritz-Carlton" written along the side.  The one I ended up with after your memorial -- our celebration of your life -- from the hotel where we'd held it.  I live in fear that the ink will run out; this is only the second time I've ever used it, here a year-and-a-half and seventeen days after your death.

"Your death."  So wrong.  Still.  I keep envisioning the following exchange: "How are you today?"  "Okay.  Just a little sad since it's my sister's birthday."  "Why should your sister's birthday make you sad?"  "Because my sister's dead."   ("... Oh.  I'm sorry.")  I'm not sure how to avoid both this scenario, and also the alternative, which would be me not mentioning it at all.  So instead, I've set a little red blanket out in the back corner of the yard, and am lying here in the intense sun with its occasional breathy breeze, writing to you.  Thinking about you.  "Not forgetting."  I've set-up that water-stained, not too old photo of you to my right, in my line of sight, and am listening to the songs which have by default and best guess become yours.  I'm wearing clothes you gave me, which I can remember you once wearing yourself, and am drinking air-cooled, sun-warmed morning coffee.  Trying my hand at allowance.  Faking it 'til I make it.

(A spider just crawled up from the grass onto my leg and paused to cackle at me.  Then she sped back off again.)

Sometimes I feel misunderstood.  Which is typical of me; of anyone, really.  The sadness in it only strikes at me now when immediately following this not-so-new feeling, I begin to feel with an awful new certainty that you would have understood.  My eyes tear up to attest to the truth of this, because I miss you so much as it is...  Why'd you have to be so utterly irreplaceable?  To leave me feeling so suddenly sister-less, so much of the time; like an irredeemable tragedy before we even got started.  You know the kind.  The kind that began as a fairy tale, making the dark twist of an ending that much more impossible, and altogether disturbing.  And yes, tragic... 

But of course, this is the story where I play the lead.  So what about your story?  Jake texted this morning to all of us, "Happy Katie's birthday."  23, would be.  (Should be.  Still not over that old resentment of mine.)  "Your life was 21 years long."  Your beautiful life... 21 years long.  (For better or worse.)  But I wish I knew how your death is treating you.  Especially on the day that marks your sweet birth.

(Later I will run along one of our beaches with Sierra; buy you pink and white balloons; Skype with our little nephew and most of our brothers; cut the crook of my finger while cutting a mini cake that should have been for you; and release a bright orange-colored Sky Lantern into the California night sky.  On it read the generic but almost fitting inscription, "In Memory Of ______.  In memory of those who have left us, may this light rise to the heavens to shine with you through all eternity."  And then this, of course.  A place for the hopes we had.)

Happy birthday, beautiful girl.  Our well-loved, and greatly-missed, little sister.  <3 <3 <3

-L (4/27/12)

"When I'm at the pearly gates, this'll be on my videotape...."

"This is one for the good days,
and I have it all here
in red blue green,
in red blue green."

[A year-and-a-half today.]

"You are my center when I spin away.
Out of control
on videotape,
on videotape."

[And the month of your birthday.]

"This is my way of saying goodbye...
Because I can't do it face to face,
I'm talking to you after it's too late."

[What should have been 23.]

"No matter what happens now
I shouldn't be afraid, because I know today
has been the most perfect day
I've ever seen."

[Now just a song I can't stop playing.]

-L (4/10/12)