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a dappled green light through a leafy canopy

Yesterday I decided to write up all my sister's journals and self publish them. I have a few handwritten journals and of course, her life journal.

I started with the first one I had, from 1995 and she was talking about how she never feels peaceful, and said 'I'll probably die in turmoil."

And she did. She did die in turmoil. She was paranoid and panicking and alone. I hate that she knew this. I hate that it came true. Maybe I can't do this. Maybe I need to pay someone else to transcribe this for me.

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Sometimes, like right now, I miss my sister so much I can barely sit still. What I wouldn't give for the ability to see her again...

I try to remember this quote, and that Maybe she's good where she is, and all my sadness is just selfish. Wouldn't that be nice?


“Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.”
Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost
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I really miss my sister. I am really sad and struggling tonight.
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Well I have officially lived longer than my sister. She deserved more time. I should be able to fix this.
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Hey guys it's canon that Harvey and Mike are cool with walking in on each other peeing. They are comfortable around each other's penises.
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Me and my sister raised each other. When I was 6, Valerie 8, our parents divorced and my dad moved out. When I was 8, and my sister 10, my mom got remarried and we moved away. Our stepfather was an asshole, and I think the trigger of some of my sister's issues. We learned how to be scared, how to be tense, how to be upset but quiet, how to keep secrets. When she was 13, she moved in with my father, and the next year I went too. Our father was nothing to us, and we just lied to him through adolescence and ignored him. We were never influenced enough by either of our parents to have had them 'raise' us.

I didn't say a word until I was almost three, because Valerie always knew what I wanted. My first memory is looking at my sister laying on the couch in our childhood home and my mom telling me to not go near here because she was sick, and I was so upset, and also confused, because Stay away from my sister? How?

When I didn't understand my homework, she helped me. When I had to do a school project, she helped me. When I was bored, she made it fun. When she got overwhelmed, I calmed her down and helped her problem solve. The first time a boy broke my heart, she held my hand and let me cry. When she wanted to write a screenplay and act it out at 2am, I did it with her. When she wanted to write a letter to some politician, I listened to it and agreed with her anger. When I wanted to be an archeologist, she bought me books about egyptians. When I wanted to be a filmmaker, she named our future production company. When I decided I loved a boy I met in a chat room, she shrugged her shoulders and said "Ok. Tell him he can visit if he wants." When she died, I wanted to go with her.

Anyway, the point is that my parents didn't raise us. They weren't there. We raised each other. I have a hard time talking to either of my parents about Val, because I felt like they didn't know her. When my mom talks about her, she calls her an angel, sweet and caring to everyone. When my father talks about her, he references memories from when she was 12 like they were yesterday. He didn't know her as an adult. When she died, and I said something about her taking meds for her problems, he said "What problems? She didn't have any problems."

The point is that I was fine with our parents not raising us. I never cared what they thought. I never felt any pressure or cared about their approval because they didn't raise me. I didn't need anyone else besides my sister. What I'm not ok with is this: our parents were supposed to die first. Not only because they are older, but because I need them less. I needed my sister to be here forever, and she's not. My sister deserved to get better and be happy, but she didn't. My sister was so full of life, but also so full of hurt. I don't know if it's selfish of me to want her to be here, when she struggled so much. I don't know if it's fair to say she deserved to live, when living was so hard for her.

I do know that she raised me, and I feel the emptiness of the absence of a best friend, a parent, a sister, a mentor. My life and my self doesn't hold the same shape without her. She was such a part of me that I still don't believe she's gone.

I spend a lot of time at my job now dealing with people that suffer from major mental illness. I know what my sister was diagnosed with, and I know she struggled. I feel like I never took it seriously, because that was always just her. It was always just her that she was horrible depressed, it was always just her that got wild and took things too far, it was just who she was. It was always just her that went through a time of being suicidal, of a time of drinking too much or being too promiscuous, or being too angry. I never saw it as mental illness. I just saw it as her. In a way, maybe I did her a disservice. Because I always thought she'd be fine, respected that she could take of herself. But I was wrong, and maybe I didn't pay enough attention to how hard it was to be her. Maybe I loved and accepted her to death. I didn't pay enough attention. I wish I could apologize.

I wish my parents would stop trying to talk to me.
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Valerie wrote this about Abby:

Condolences

It's hard to hear you say,
"I'm sorry for your loss,"
When, without exception,
I'd trade your life for hers.


Tags: abby, poetry


I wrote a similar poem, but it's called "I hate all of you"
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When Valerie and Mike decided to split, apparently I said this:

I'm very sorry. But also very proud of you for standing up for yourself and not settling for less than what you need and letting someone try to change you. You are perfect as you are.

We are awesome people who deserve awesome lives. And you're going to be a kick ass single mom, if you want to be. Don't tell Kenny, but I've often fantasized about what a kick ass single mom I'd be.

Two little things I always say to myself through difficult/ changing times:

"You have no obligation to the person you were. You'll never meet them again."

and

"The ground you're standing on is liberated territory. Defend it."

Remember I always have a place for you. All you have to do is show up if you need it.

valerie_z
February 2 2010, 14:55:16 UTC 4 years ago

Thank you so much, Tiny Jean. It means so much to me to have you as my sister. I will definitely take you up on an extended summer visit.



I have done a lot of focusing on how I wasn't there for her when she was scared, confused and dying alone in her apartment. But maybe I was an ok sister some of the time.
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From Valerie's journal:

9/26/09
"My mom sent me my grandfather's eulogy for me to print. Apparently she thought it needed tons of cliches and a 9/11 reference. And comma splices.

Now I have to write my own eulogy so no one fucks it up. "

The funny thing is the woman that wrote Valerie's obituary totally fucked it up. She pretty much wrote it as we were saying it and it was horrible. So many mistakes it was embarrassing. I actually called several times the next day until they fixed it. I said things like "She was an English professor and this is an embarrassment!" I think she would have been proud of me for that.
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More motivation to write up her journals, and some of her stuff from LJ:

On 9/24/09, Valerie wrote:

"My grandfather's obituary (or at least, the first one I found) is six sentences. It's like a tweet.

When I die I want people to know everything. All my secrets, my favorite songs, why I never ate eggs. I want to max out LJ's post limit.

I should probably write it ahead of time. "
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