photo of Patti and Julie Miller, about 1957
Last Friday was eleven years since you left me on this planet without you.
March 10th. Our brother’s birthday.
Our big brother who chose to abandon us after things didn’t go his way after our father died.
The father who hurt you. Who molested you for years. Who began when you were a tiny, helpless, child of 3.
So many big hurts in your life. A mother who gave birth to us but didn’t seem to like us once we could talk. A father who abused you. A brother you were close to who abandoned both of us.
So much therapy.
I’ve had so much therapy.
I’ve had therapy that’s older than some of my grandchildren.
Your leaving the planet on Michael’s birthday? We saw that as your final flip of the bird to yet another person in your family to cause you harm.
Your death was a wake up call for me.
Loss. Grief. Crying noises I didn’t know I could make.
Realizing that the person I’d been married to for decades wasn’t the best friend and confidante, the person to have my back, that I had thought he would be. That he couldn’t be there for me in this hugest loss–the loss of my big sister. My only sister.
I think of you every time I write the phrase “I love you more” to one of my kids or to a grandchild, because you ended every phone conversation with that, reminding me that you knew me and loved me.
And here I am, 9 years out of my marriage. A stronger, happier version of me– someone I finally learned to love and respect.
I spent this anniversary of your leaving in a perfect way.
I was out with friends, watching a man and a woman perform in a local bar. I smiled. I sang when I knew the words. Hummed when I didn’t. Just like all those times we watched Fred and Susan perform at the bar in Vail, Colorado. When was that, 1974, maybe? You and me doing housekeeping at a hotel–
Nobody knew that you were there with me on Friday, in my heart, in my head, secretly with me in a time warp.
And now I’m crying and can’t see what I’m writing, so I’m gonna go.
Oh how I miss hearing you say “I love you more!”