I lost my sister Colleen (Cokey as we referred to her) last year, exactly 1 year to the day actually.
I haven’t shared anything about her death on my blog until a few days ago, if you would like, you can read about it here.
Today we had a mass in her honor, followed by a luncheon. My parents, sister Donna and our families and friends came together to honor Colleen. It was a warm, sunny day which was so comforting after all of the wind and rain. It was perfect and we thanked Colleen for that.
Following the luncheon, we released 13 colorful monarch butterflies, it was beautiful.
I wrote this 5 months after Colleen died, but changed the number of days because it still resonates with how I feel.
My sister Cokey.
It’s so hard to believe that you are gone, but every day for the last 365 days I sadly remember that you are.
My sister is dead.
It’s crazy to say those words.
So often I find myself struggling to push through the waves of emotions.
I feel SO many emotions.
Sadness, anger, guilt, fear.
Yet, sometimes peace.
I feel a lot of guilt.
Guilt like I didn’t help enough. I wasn’t there for you. I should have reached out more, called more. I should have stopped assuming that you were in a good place, that you were okay.
Should of, could of.
Sometimes it’s guilt when I feel joy and happiness. Or when, for a brief moment, I forget that you are dead.
I don’t push the positive feelings away, I welcome them and I thank God for allowing me to feel joyful, silly and happy, especially under the circumstances because I genuinely feel so blessed for all that he has given me in my life, and that includes you, my dear sister.
Sometimes it’s guilt that I’m still living. I’m moving on with my life, day to day and you will forever be 50.
I pray my sister, that you are at peace and with Jesus. I want to believe that with every ounce of my soul.
My faith tells me that you are, but I struggle with that sometimes too.
So I cry for you. I cry for our sister, I cry for Mom and Dad. I cry for your children. I hate that you won’t be here to see them get married. That you will never become a grandmother. I’m angry that you made bad choices. I’m angry that you struggled so hard in this life. I wish you had experienced an easier life, one with more joy and happiness.
God certainly blessed you with many wonderful gifts including your two amazing children who you undoubtedly loved with your whole heart.
It’s just not fair. I wish that we could turn back time and you could have a do-over because I know you would do things differently.
Your picture sits on the shelf in my bedroom. Sometimes I avoid looking at you because it hurts too much. I don’t want to feel it, own it. But that’s not fair to you so I tell myself to feel. I have to get through it, I have to feel; shitty feelings and all and accept and acknowledge that — you. are. gone.
But, as your sister, your little sister, I have to honor you. I want to honor you. I want to remember you. I want to hold all that I have of you tucked safely in a warm, special place in my heart.
So instead of looking away, I’ll smile at you. Sometimes I’ll talk to you. Mostly “I love you sista“. Sometimes “oh Coke, why?!?”
But I suppose we will never know why.
You know I’ve always been fearful, but I feel much more fearful now. I’m so afraid that someone else I love will die.
Just. Like. That.
Maybe it’s all part of the process. The shitty stages of grief.
Sometimes, in times of silence, I find myself replaying that early morning phone call from Dad telling me that you were gone. For a moment I thought for sure it was a terrible nightmare. God, I wish it were. But the undeniable pain in Dads voice told me differently.
All I could think to do at that moment was to get on my knees and pray.
I’m so afraid that I will eventually forget you. Not the memory of you, the living you.
Your smile, your voice, your laugh.
I try my best to see you, to hear you. But again it’s painful.
I don’t ever want to forget you. Our history. Our memories.
We made some really special memories over the years and those are the ones I will keep, in my heart. Not the bad memories, the years of struggle, heartache and pain.
So yes some days I struggle to put on a happy face, to be strong but I know that you would want me to be happy. All of us to be happy.
And I am. Mostly.
I miss you though. I wish you were still here. I wish I had a do-over and could tell you so many things.
I would tell you how grateful I am for you.
I would tell you how beautiful you are.
I would tell you how much I admire your spirit and your strength.
I would tell you that I’m so proud of you.
I would say thank you.
Thank you for being my sassy, spunky, kick-ass sister for 50 years.
My sister who would fight to the bitter end for anyone she loved, yet struggled to love herself.
Struggled to fight for herself.
I promise that I will remember you. Smile when I think of you. Love you. Talk about you.
I’ll certainly miss you forever.
Peace always my sister Cokey. ❤❤
12/8/1965 – 9/24/2016
I made a pair of Angel wings for my parents.
Thank you for visiting,