“Why she had to go, I don’t know. She wouldn’t say.” Lennon/McCartney
She did not leave a note.
My sister had moved 3,000 miles to live near me. A dream realized.
She’d talked about doing it for decades.
Less than a year later, she’d left my life completely.
After years of cherished intimacy – hanging tight long distance, we’d supported each other through tragedy and triumph. Relationship traumas, job changes, marriages/divorces, a life-threatening diagnosis.
Our closeness had a comfortable non-fussiness to it, like the softest flannel PJs that’ve ever kept you cozy. Rarely a rough edge or a sharp elbow.
Our hearts, unerringly warm and safe in each other’s company.
It isn’t blood that makes you my sister; it’s how you understand my heart … as you carry it in your body.Rupi Kaur
Her departure was sudden. And completely unanticipated.
No drama. No goodbyes or parting shots.
Only dead air.
Except for one brief period — in the waning weeks of 2018, when our mother was dying — communication between us had dropped to zero.
I’ve hesitated to write this tale.
But now, just shy of eleven years in the rearview mirror, I can finally summon the emotional energy and hindsight to steer clear of both hyperbole and restraint.
Since time has afforded the luxury of distance. And looking back is almost as if at historical characters from another lifetime.
The sting of loss has faded.
Coping mechanisms have ceased grinding their gears.
Like, sporadic rummaging through boxes in the garage for her old letters. Dropping a few of the most poignant ones back into circulation for her to revisit.
Hoping to spark memory, or a tender nerve, for the fondness we once shared.
No return receipt had been requested and none was given.
There was no need.
Because her silence did all of the talking.
I’d wondered if my fervent aching for her companionship would ever settle down.
When I’d muster sufficient vigor to release the fantasy that my life would be happier with her in it?
I still savored sweet recollections.
Of our ocean walks, one winter in Florida. Heading out at sunrise to the shoreline, with our Dunkin’ donuts and coffee, to power up for daily beach-brainstorms.
Contemplating damage-control strategies for the upcoming day with our mother.
On one of these trips, my sis helped me pick out a pretty new shade of lipstick. That I still wear to this day — and think of her when I do.
I recall with bittersweetness the birthday and Christmas messages I delivered into the ethers for years.
Now, resting in peace. Along with any hope that we might one day reunite.
My sister had chipped away all doubt that any such interest is a one-way street.
So I stay in my lane. And she, in hers.
I’ve added her name to my Do Not Call list.
Our mother surmised that it all had something to do with my sister’s need to play ‘leading lady’ in her own life movie.
And that her screenplay had room for but one starring role.
I guess, perhaps. an in-person enactment of our scenes together had been necessary for my sister to figure that out.
I’ll never know for sure.
But I do sense that the script we followed was both destined and blameless.
A poignant irony: to this day we share the same town.
Though the distance between us is unfathomably more immense than three-thousand miles.
There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.Shannon Alder
No matter where we are, we’ll always share the same sky. We can always find each other in the same constellation.Roshani Chokshi