Celebrating the Anniversary of a Death
Over the years, I’ve lost several key people in my life to sickness, including both my parents, my husband, and most recently, my beloved sister, Jessica. I never understood why people called memorials “the anniversary of my sister’s death” or whoever passed away. Shouldn’t anniversaries be reserved for happy occasions? For years after my parents and husband died, one after another, all in the month of January, I hated and wanted to skip the month of January altogether.
After several years of shutting myself away on these “anniversaries,” and wearing metaphorical black — clothes, heart, mind, mood — on those days in history, I decided that anniversaries absolutely should be happy, and I decided to stop being sad on those days, and instead think of good memories I have of the person and toast them with whatever drink I have handy. Today, I’m lifting my glass, filled with Coca-Cola (it’s the real thing, after all!) to my sister, Jessica, the best sister in the history of sisters! I thought I’d share some of our best memories. Probably, some of the humor will be lost, since you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing her, but my hope is that when the anniversaries of someone’s death comes around for you, you can focus on the good stuff, rather than the loss.
My favorite memory of Jessie was when we were moving our parents into their new home in San Antonio, where three of my sisters lived at the time. My dad was in the hospital after just having received a stem cell transplant to fight his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, so it was just my mother, my sister, and I unpacking.
It was mid-summer in San Antonio, and as we moved boxes to and from the garage, it felt like it was about 300 degrees with 500% humidity, and we thought we were gonna die from heat stroke! Earlier, we’d gotten stuck halfway up the staircase when the couch we were moving upstairs decided it didn’t want to make the trip after all, and it wedged itself between the railing and the wall. There we were, trying to push, pull, pivot, twist, shimmy, … well, you get the point, the stupid couch the rest of the way, and we got tickled and started to laugh.
Laughing just made it harder, and us weaker, and after extreme effort and probably some heavenly help, we…