Everywhere I look, there she is.

Since she was born, it’s always been this way. During our childhood everywhere I looked in our small house there was a reminder of my sister. As we grew, the physical there-ness of her was inescapable. We shared a bed for many, many years and a room till our teens. We had more belongings that were jointly owned than separate sets of things, and it was joyous. I always had a buddy, a partner and a mate. Even though she was three years younger than me, It wasn’t till she left for college that we stopped cohabitation. For 18 years, I was immersed in her being. 

Then came the era of separation that would be the second half of our earthly life together; of her always off in one place or another, and me starting a family and settling down. She was the dandelion wishes and me its rooted dreams. We were different incarnations of the same plant, each doing what they did best. I am better suited to grabbing hold and digging deep, nourishing a single system. She was better at being everywhere else, sowing seeds of connection and new community wherever she alighted. Meeting thousands of other beings and growing with them for a time, before setting off again. 

Her physical journeys are now at an end, and her non corporeal existence has begun.  

She exists in death, and me in life. My own physical existence, proof of our new wholly opposite nature. Breathing itself is a constant reminder that she breathes no more.

Now, she is the sunshine and the bird song. The rain and the thunder. No matter what, everywhere I look, there she is again. Only now that’s sad, a recurrent and chronic devastation at any stimuli. It won’t always be that way, but for now, this is me. I know from our father’s untimely passing that these things shift. The way I feel today, is not how I will always feel. Some days will be designated for sorrow, and I will bathe in my tears. Other days I will be so full of the joy of her and of life, my feet will feel light on the ground.

Back and forth it will go, for the rest of my years. 

This new intangible there-ness cuts like a furrow opening in the earth, the necessary injury for new growth. It is up to me to decide what to plant there. Seeds of sorrow or grief. Bulbs that will make flowers of guilt and remorse. Fertilized by all the shit I “did not do” or “could have done different” these crops would flourish if granted the proper conditions, but what a fucked up garden that would be. 

Instead, I will do my best to plant new traditions rooted in the soul of our memories. They will be watered generously with the tears of my grief for many years to come. I hope that they will grow medicine for a world in desperate need of it. 

She’s in the bumblebee and the clover. The purr of my cat and the laugh of my daughter. It’s a little like having moved back in with her. Now, I will have to do the living for the both of us. She’s going to be disappointed with the itinerary. (Tough shit Kiddo, shouldn’t have died.) I’m sure there will be trips inspired by her memory, but I will still live as I have, enjoying the company of home and family. 

We will go into the woods, and the quiet empty spaces of the world together, because now she is everywhere all at once. I wish things were different, but there is nothing for that. My life has been broken again into a time of ‘before’ and ‘after’. The passing of our father now appears to have been a dress rehearsal. I am still not prepared for this. I want to rail at the sky and earth, at the universe itself- that this is not how it was supposed to be! Given recent events, clearly this was an erroneous assumption on my part. 

I feel like a shattered vase. A thing that is supposed to have a specific purpose it can no longer perform. This is so much different than our dad dying, because that was natural in a way. His death was a chip off the rim, a crack down the side; an injury that didn’t affect the function of the item, or the essence of what it was to be me. Rather it showed the mark of life well lived, and well loved.

Here I sit, a broken vase unable to perform the one of the two tasks I was meant to. I can still love her, but not protect her. A vessel that can no longer hold water and space for magnificent things. My family needs me to go through this, to find a new configuration that will once again make room for the beauty of life. A life that didn’t cease to exist when she did. I will become a mosaic of my former self, a thing with a wholly different purpose and ability than before. A similar flatter object. One that is so obviously broken there is no denying the transformative damage, but a thing that persists nonetheless. I can still hold space for the seeds and fruits of my new garden.

Since as long as I can remember, my purpose was to protect and love my sister. I could not protect her from her own sense of immortality, a thing so powerful it often baked off of her. She was determined to prove that though small, she was capable of anything anyone else could do. She was absolutely right, the problem is that everyone has the ability to die and it would seem, so did she. I still have a choice in this; I can be bitter, or I can be better.  I can still marvel at her beauty and wonder of all of creation the way we did as children. I am a broken vase ready for the next incarnation, a thing that will still cradle life and the fruit of this new grief’s garden.

Be well.

17 Comments on “Everywhere I look, there she is.

    • Your writings are Beautiful Ember. Your love and prospective is awe inspiring. I send you virtual strength a shoulder a hug what ever you need.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much! It’s really encouraging that people are reacting this way. Writing is difficult (from a process standpoint, I’m dyslexic so the fact that these come out intelligible still amazes me) and emotionally. It does help though. Thanks again!

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  1. Em,this is not about me,but your words are coming from inside me also?Just having had the experience of losing my baby sister…..everything you described is exactly how I feel?Maybe you were here to be a role model for me,as we walk this intense journey of loss and immense blessing and gratitude?I read,”Don’t be sad it is over,be Grateful it happened”?But the physical body has emotions and the heart is part of what connects to the experience,which now takes us to both sides of life….Death and Life!!!!Thank You for your words and healing that comes from them!!!! It is all about LOVE!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am blessed you are in my life. You and Robert are such an inspiration. I think that truth resonates with everyone and so these writings are not from me but through me. This helps them to be more universally resonate. Thank you for the heavy work that you showed me how to do, shouldering heavy loads makes the rest of life seem light in comparison. I love you Les! Hugs to everyone for me.

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  2. Hi Ember,
    I reached out on Instagram but I just wanted to let you know how incredible these writings have been. I’ve gone through and read everything about Sara on your website. There is no way that I can know your grief, I can’t imagine being where you are. I only know how much I loved her. I am so grateful for your honesty and for your sharing these emotions, and these memories. We all send you so much love. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

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    • Thank you for reading, but mostly for loving my sister so well. You guys were so very special to her. She always lit up talking about the get-togethers and adventures. I’m so happy she had that kind of love in her life. I can’t tell you what knowing that has meant for me. Thank you for your support and love it makes a tremendous difference in so many ways. The unexpected side effect of all this encouragement is that I have started writing more again…so remember it’s all your fault 🙂

      LOTS of love to you Cassondra and all the crew.

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  3. Ember, please give my love to Linda and yourself – I haven’t seen her for years, I’ve been living down in soCal taking care of aging parents, both now gone, I worked with your mom at VWC and also in taichi long ago. Beth Benjamin

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Shit Sandwich Part Two- The Meat.  – Wicked Rural Homestead

  5. Wonderful writing. I doubt if you knew our family, but my daughter, Tiffany was in the same HS year (along with attending BCE) as Sara, and she played rec soccer with her in the early years. We have very fond memories of Sara in those years! From your writings, we see she grew into being an incredible person and adventurer, and live a life worth writing of. The pain your Mother and you now have, must be unbearable. Thank you for sharing these memories that allow us to know the extraordinary person she grew up to be. What a loss for the community, the world…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading, she was a pretty awesome person to know and a great person to have on your soccer team 🙂 Lots of love to you all.

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  6. Ember, you don’t know me, but I am a close friendship-sis with Kim Bergen. She shared Shit Sandwich Part Two with me, and I’ve been reading your writings, and trying to understand Sara, and you. What a pair you are! Sisters, forever. I, too, love my sister very much and am close to her…can’t imagine life without her, actually. I believe that you are correct when you write, “Death is not something you get over, or leave behind, it is a mark that becomes a living part of you, a lifelong scar.”. A friend of mine told me once that ‘grief is a sacred space’. I wanted to share that sentiment with you. I can’t tell you that I understand where you are, because each journey is unique IMHO. But–I do relate. I live with grief; it is part of me. And I am comforted and inspired by your writings. So, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the quote about ‘sacred space’! That is what I hope to create with these writings, an honest place where the bits people don’t like to talk about are named and given value.

      Death is many things and our popular understanding and dialog about death leave much to be desired. Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting, and thank Kim for sharing it. It means a lot to me, when I wonder why am I even posting this stuff publicly it matters that people encourage me. I could just write it all and keep it private, but a lot of the reason I write so that other people don’t feel like they are the only ones.

      This blog was meant to be more of a chronicle of the homestead, but things change. As they should. It is the change that matters; from what you thought your life would be, to what it becomes. To be in love with that unexpected life as if it was the one you ordered, is a precious thing. Even when all you have to eat is a shit sandwich, I am grateful to be alive to have another meal .

      Thank you and be well.

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      • Ember, thank you for your response. I passed your thank you’s onto Kim, as well. Your writings are grand. You are a very fine writer. Just like your sister. Keep on keepin’ on. Blessings to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Shit Sandwich Part 3-The Spicy Pepper Anger Sauce – Wicked Rural Homestead

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