Saturday, 11 July 2015

Day 11

Yesterday I mentioned the stages of grief. I can safely say I'm at the end of my journey because I have choosen to share my story.
I never realised the impact my Sister had on others in her short life. But over the many years I have found out that even for a short life lived.... she lived it and made an impact.

V's Story

Memories of that awful time seem to drift like clouds passing overhead, some forming recognisable shape – others more fleeting.  Happier times include playing in the square with My Little Ponies, Michelle’s utter devotion to Michael Jackson.  The both of you, walking everywhere with your hoods up; Anne of Green Gables and early Jackie Chan movies.  Michelle sitting at the bottom of your Dad’s stairs getting ready to go out and finding a bra up her sleeve!

Then I remember the Saturday morning, my parents sitting me down and asking questions about whether I had seen Michelle the previous day.  I don’t remember exactly how they told me she had died.  It still baffles me that it happened; still doesn’t seem real, even after all this time.  I remember very confusing feelings at the time – complete shock, sadness and, I suppose, feelings of guilt.  She had been just a few houses away.  Could I have knocked for her?  Could I have stopped it?  To have been so close by but not known anything about it seemed so wrong. 

I don’t remember the first few days at school afterwards, other than an announcement to the year group in the hall.  Then I remember the funeral.  I remember where I sat, what I wore, where we went afterwards.  The service made it real for me.   I have a feeling I avoided you.  I don’t think I even looked at you or your family.  I felt sure I couldn’t even begin to understand what you were going through.  What could I say that could bring any comfort after such an enormous loss?  Who was I to talk to you?  I regret that.  I regret not just saying sorry and taking the lead from you.  It just seemed so BIG.  So big I didn’t have the emotional skills to deal with it, or rather how to deal with YOU.  I wish I could rewind and hold you tightly.  Tell you how sorry I was.  Tell you that I could only imagine the pain you were in.  Offer anything I could that you might have needed.

Something I DO remember very well was the most beautiful dream I had some time after the funeral.  In my dream, my Mom called up to me that someone was at the door.  I came down the stairs to see Michelle and your Mum in our hallway.  Michelle said she just wanted to say goodbye.  We hugged.  Then she left with your Mum.  When I woke up, I felt so peaceful, so calm.  It felt wonderful and comforting.

I have been teaching for about 16 years, and a year hasn’t passed when I haven’t talked to students about losing Michelle in such a tragic manner.   Something good can come from something so devastating.

So, without the benefit of time travel, Trudge, I will just have to live with saying this NOW,…..….

“I am REALLY sorry for your loss.  I can only imagine how painful it has been (and still is) and if there is anything I can do to help – you just need to ask.”


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