March 28, 2007

Rambling Reflections

I have been thinking a great deal in the past few days about my sister's death and the times both before and after the accident which took her life. I am not sure why exactly this has haunted my mind, but I suspect it may be because the fourth anniversary of her death is only a couple of weeks away. I decided a few nights ago that I wanted to write out some reflections, but I intentionally delayed sitting down and writing. Part of me wants to deal with these thoughts, and part of me wants constantly wants to flee from them.

I apologize if this post seems disjointed or strangely written. I have no unifying theme or purpose other than just to reflect. It's sort of like stream-of-consciousness but a tad more organized.

The first time I realized I was focusing on my sister's death occurred when I discovered I could not remember the exact date of her death. I knew it happened in April, and I thought it was most likely April 11. This turned out to be the correct date (I checked my blog post about it to be sure), but the fact that I had any doubt whatsoever about the date of the accident made me feel as if I were an absolutely worthless human being. For the first time since shortly after her funeral (that I can remember), I began to cry about her death.

Perhaps not surprisingly, what I remember most vividly about the night she died is hearing the news. I remember sitting down to watch the mini-series "Storm of the Century." I remember telling someone (I think Chris) pick up and immediately hang up the phone the first time it rang. I remember the frustration I felt when it began to ring again. I remember not recognizing my mother's voice because she was still in tears. I remember her telling me that there had been an accident and that my sister had not survived. I remember my mouth opening in disbelief, and I remember crouching as I held the phone. I remember my mother asking me if there was someone else she could talk to, and I remember almost yelling for someone else to take the phone. I remember Mark taking it as I moved to sit on my bed. I remember being left alone (and I'm fairly certain I asked everyone to leave). I remember Nathan walking into the room later after he got off work, oblivious to what had happened, and I remember not being able to tell him, instead telling him to go ask Mark. I remember finally emerging from my room (I do not remember why) and finding everyone who was currently on Dorm Four meeting in third-floor lounge. I never asked, but I've always assumed that was to share the news and pray for my family. I remember at one point sitting on a table in the second-floor lounge staring blankly into the night, and I remember making eye-contact with a group of guys walking into the building who were unaware of what had happened and minutes later being asked by that group if they could pray over me. I remember waiting for what felt like hours for a family friend to pick me up and describing to some of the guys what his truck would look like, and I remember feeling annoyed when a different person arrived in a different truck because I felt like I had misled my friends.

After almost four years, I doubt those memories will leave me any time in the near future. What had been hidden, however, were precisely what happened when I went home. Were it not for my other blog entries about that time, I am not sure my memory would have been jogged. Most of that time is lost in a fog that descended some time after falling asleep that first night/early morning. I'm very glad now that I did write something during that time.

At the same time, though, I don't really recognize the person who wrote several of those entries. Despite my "cynical" attitude I remember supposedly having, a good deal of my writing had quite a bit of hope mingling with the note of despair or bitterness. I do not remember that hope, and I certainly do not remember at what it was directed. Did I possess that hope, or did I express it in an attempt to fill a role I thought I had to play? I may not be that great of an actor on stage, but I have long been able to suppress emotion. I have been doing it all my life. I am fairly certain none of my roommates thought anything was wrong as I said goodnight and climbed into bed to cry privately the other night. I've been wanting to talk about this for days, but I refused to let myself show it even though I am surrounded by people who would be more than willing to talk with me about anything. Was I doing the same thing after her death? Was it all part of my attempt to be "strong" for my family?

I remember grieving. I remember mourning. I remember weakly smiling and thanking people for their concern. But, I do not remember hope.

Which, of course, does not really answer what is important. If I truly felt that way even after the death of my sister, what has changed within me, and what provoked that change? I look back now and think of my past self as a naive fool, and I felt a twinge of embarassment as I linked to those previous posts.

I also can not remember the last time I visited my sister's grave. My mother and my grandparents visited it daily for quite some time after the funeral, and I am fairly certain they still go to it at least once a week. I could probably count the number of times I have been there because I wanted to be there on one hand. Some seem to see it as a way to honor and remember her, while I came to view it as a waste of time and energy. Ironically, this is also when I began to develop an interest in cemetaries in general, and I a few months later I encountered "Dead Like Me" for the first time. Yet, I now find myself wanting to visit her grave. I've even been tempted to make a special trip from Longview just for that purpose.

I'm not exactly sure where this desire is coming from, but I suspect that guilt may play a heavy role in it. Guilt over being given a new car after my sister's death. Guilt over becoming an only child and accepting that descriptor for myself. Guilt over having the audacity to actually enjoy getting more attention from my family and seemingly being more valued by my relatives. Guilt over knowing I could use that attention and love to my advantage and, yes, even doing it. Guilt over simultaneously painfully missing my sister and forgetting how she affected my life. Guilt over moving on and mostly not looking back.

Regret for the future is also mixed with much of that guilt; however, most of that regret is selfish in nature. I regret not being able to see my sister grow and mature past the age of 15. I regret not being able to know her as an adult. I regret not being able to meet the man she would have married or know the children she would have eventually have mothered. (Despite my views on children, she seemed quite fond of them.) I regret her becoming a memory, and I regret allowing that memory to be so small.

I'm not sure what I want from writing all of this out, and I'm fairly certain I could ramble on for a good deal longer. I'm not looking for a solution to any perceived problems one might find from this. I think I just needed to get this off of my chest so I can breathe again. So that I can go to sleep without once again reliving the night of my sister's death.

And that's not meant to sound nearly as melodramatic as I know it does.

Posted by Randy at March 28, 2007 11:53 PM | TrackBack