One year ago today my younger sister, Cherie, took her own life. While she had had ups & downs, & was battling alcoholism, it was an unexpected tragedy that tore through my family just as violently as the gunshot that ended her life must have sounded. It was all the more difficult to accept because it seemed that Cherie was in a pretty positive place in her life compared to some other things she’d gone through – she was excited about some things happening she’d been looking forward to, she had 3 healthy, beautiful grandsons, including a fairly new baby, Aiden; she seemed happy with her job & had close friends there…still, something was so wrong or went so wrong that she made a decision I am positive was made in a single moment of hurt, anger & confusion, one that left the people who love her devastated & at an utter loss as to what could possibly have pushed her to such a desperate act.
I’ve learned things during this past year; I’ve learned compassion for others who have lost loved ones; I’ve heard how mindless grief can make my own mother’s voice unrecognizable; I now feel that awareness of the possibility of death – my own, or ones close to me; I’ve learned to live with the gnawing feeling of not enough words spoken when I had the chance; I’ve re-learned how my husband’s presence carries me unfailingly; I appreciate the Bible’s promise of a resurrection not only for myself but also for others Cherie left grieving; I understand that my children can’t conceive at the present what it will feel like for one to lose the other; I feel more deeply the pleasure of things my sister can’t – a cool night breeze while standing under a night sky studded with stars, the smell of freshly dug garden dirt, the pounding of a hard rain on the roof, the laughs of grandchildren.
I cherish my memories of Cherie – how she loved her sleep (she fell asleep in the bath tub once when she was about 5 or 6), how she loved to “scoop” babies fat cheeks, how she was a tender-hearted as she was tender-headed (I remember our mama trying to comb tangles out of Cherie’s golden-blond hair while Cherie cringed & brought her shoulders up to her ears), how she ran down the hall of the double-wide we lived in when she was about 15 & I was 17, yelling the whole way before tackling me when we stayed up all night once & were a little delirious. I miss her more than she would have thought I could.
This photo was her 9th grade picture. i always thought it was her best. She wrote on the back,”Michelle, It’s not good – but it’s me! Love ya! Cherie”.
See you later, Flossie.
On a much, much lighter note – tonight Derrick & I took Lilo to a local guy who has a male Corgi we are trying to breed Lilo with ( & to whom Lilo has been giving the cold shoulder) & the guy had his son bring up one of the 15 puppies they have at the moment. You’d have thought I’d dipped my nose in bacon grease.