One Year Later

One year ago today my sister (in law) Bren passed away. I miss her all the time.


Her memorial, provided to me by her Aunt Lisa. 

We were so much alike sometimes, and so different in other ways. I loved her so much …


…but I was the one to kick her ass sometimes too. We went back and forth. Fighting and walking away, but as close as sisters. When her kids were smaller, she wanted me to be the one to have guardianship of them should something happen to her. But, her kids were 20, 21, and 22 when we lost her so they’re all grown up. And I’m not in their lives the way I used to be, the way I should be, the way I wish I could be sometimes. I miss the days of her kids and my kids running through the house.

Distance and time changes things. And people. But through all the miles and years, we found our way back when we drifted apart, even if it was just a text or a message when one or both of us was on the move.

The last thing I ever said to her was “I love you” and I hold on to that when missing her brings me to my knees. I’m glad that was the last thing she heard from me. And I’m grateful that was the last thing I got to say. Too often we lose people without having said the good stuff the way we really should have.

I got the phone call the next morning, about 16 hours after she died. I still have the voicemail on my phone…..for a couple of reasons. But mostly because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget losing her, finding out she was gone, and how I felt.

I spent the first few days just kind of wandering around the house, just trying to realize she was really gone. It was like a punch to the chest.

Two weeks later I spent the whole week trying to figure out if I should/could go up to Michigan for a memorial. Part of me still thinks I should have gone. But instead, I participated from here…12645242_10206529635652186_5489238237786323043_n

I sent a white balloon up, telling her to be happy and free. I sent hope and love up through the clouds. A few months later I got a tattoo of a hummingbird on my left calf, inspired by the losses of her, my Dad, and a few other people.  I also have “ana’laigh” tattooed on my left forearm, Gaelic for “breathe”. Inspired by Brenda, and part of my own story as well.

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It’s taken me most of the last year to wrap my head around the question “HOW is she gone and I’m still here?” (ridiculous, I know, childlike….but stay with me….). But what I know now is that even if my loved ones ticks stop tocking, it’s not my time piece that’s affected. Her loss taught me more about going on after the death of someone I love.


She’s still with me, but I imagine her finally happy, and free, and feeling loved the way she always wanted (and needed) to be. I talk to her a lot. I miss her. She’s dancing on the clouds, and because I knew her….I am changed for good.





2 responses

  1. This is beautiful. It made me cry.

    Sometimes I wonder if death is what helps us really experience love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry I made you cry!
      I think maybe when we lose someone, we find a piece of ourselves that finally tells us how much we loved them. Or maybe it’s the thing about the shortness of life that makes us connect and love one another?


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