I’ve waited long enough. I’m sorry, again, for what I did and said. I was wrong. Yes, I’ve already apologized, and we (kind of) got past it. But at two hundred and fifty miles apart, getting together is a challenge for “hugging it out.”
But now, there’s something I need to say to you. Since you’re not standing in front of me, this letter will have to do.
We met when we were around three. Throughout our childhoods, our home lives were strikingly similar. Alcoholic Mother and Father (for me, step-father), who might lash out at a moment’s notice. In your family, the kids might’ve been spared, but the grown-ups fought each other, sometimes violently. For mine, the kids were not spared. Sometimes violently. You kept me steady throughout that nightmare.
Your birthday was only two weeks before mine, and you made sure I remembered that you were the elder. Suzy, even though we were only two weeks apart, I admit, you did teach me so much. Which brings me to why I’m writing this letter.
An ancient soul who loves to laugh is the way I’d describe you. Thank you for teaching me how to laugh. Your contagious joy infected me and it runs through my veins to this day.
Thank you for teaching me what a Sister is and does. Yes, I have three by blood (and one brother), but we were all in a strained situation. Fostering close relationships was not our parent’s goal.
Thank you for teaching me to be proud of me. Growing up, there were a number of authority figures in my life from whom disrespect and shame were daily lessons. You taught me that self-respect, and pride, weren’t dirty words.
Thank you for teaching me dependability. No matter where you might’ve been, should the need arise and I called, you came to my side. You were there for me. Physically. Not just a phone call, not platitudes. You arrived on my doorstep, if for no other reason but to offer moral support (and rum). There are people in my life today that know if the need should arise, they only have to call me and I’ll come (with rum, most likely). You taught me that.
Thank you for teaching me that the truth ain’t nothing to fuck with.
Thank you for teaching me spontaneity. One phone call from you in the middle of an ordinary Friday afternoon, and we were checked into a beach hotel to watch the sunrise Saturday. And, speaking of that…
Thank you for all of the sunrises we spent on the beach together.
Which brings us back to this letter. I think that’s what went wrong the last weekend we spent together. There was no beach nearby. Granted, November isn’t exactly beach weather. But, we let angry words and actions go too long. The phone calls helped get us through the roughest patch. By February we were making noise about the next beach day.
But then you hit me with your final lesson. How to live without you.
You died so suddenly. You left this earth without as much as a goodbye. You went to sleep one night at the age of fifty-four and didn’t wake up the next morning. Your husband, daughters, friends, family, everyone whose life you touched, went reeling like a taught cord snapping. With your beautiful, ready smile, and filthy sense of humor gone, how could life ever be the same?
The answer is it can’t be the same. Ever. Your quick wit, your laughter, intellect, unending support, and effervescent encouragement are gone.
Our life-long friendship is over.
Sometimes, when I find one of those random greeting cards you’d sent (with a hand-written, Love, Suzy) or drive by a hotel we’d stayed in, or mention your name in a conversation with others, my breath catches and I have to pause to keep myself from crying. Dammit woman, I miss you.
Life will never be the same. But it is better because you were here.
JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.