Monday, September 22, 2008

anniversaries good and bad

September is full of annivesaries. There's our wedding. There's the day we decided we'd live together: that I would leave my partner at the time; I would leave my family and friends; I would come to a strange continent with bad health, no money, no job, and practically zero hope of getting a visa. There's Kelley's birthday. There's my birthday. There's the death of my little sister, Helena.

Helena died twenty years ago today: September 22nd 1988. She was 24. I loved her. I didn't always like her because, well, she was crazy--borderline personality disorder--and was dependent on heroin and indulged in the full panoply of criminal behaviour that entails. But I always loved her. Her death was utterly expected (she'd been trying to kill herself, on some level, since she was 15) and a terrible shock. Here's a photo of us taken in Hull when I was 21 (before my nose got broken) and she was 18:

click to enlarge
photo by Heidi Griffiths (no, no relation--that would be very, very wrong)

It's exceedingly strange to find that she's been gone for twenty years. She never met Kelley and never will. She never read any of my novels and never will. I will never find out what kind of adult she might have been. I miss her.

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8 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister, Nicola, for the pain her absence brings to your life. I don't even want to think about what I'd do without my little Diana. I am really sorry.

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  2. It is always difficult and painful to lose someone we love. To lose that person at such a young age is jarring in a way that never leaves one. I am sorry she was gone from your life way to soon.

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  3. It sucks. Really sucks. My heart and my thoughts are with you.

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  4. Thank you. It's strange but I'm always a bit previous about grief anniversaries: I feel the awfulness about five days ahead of the actual date and it always (every bloody time) takes me by surprise. By the time the anniverary itself arrives, I find I've moved on. Mostly. Life is strange. But, y'know, it's *life*. It's good.

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  5. I'm sorry, Nicola. I can't imagine my life without my brothers.

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  6. Allow my voice to join in the chorus of others. I know exactly what you mean about the awfulness. It comes early, you're not sure why...then blam. The grief and memories walk right up from behind you, into your living room, and make themselves at home with the paper and some of your best wine.
    I lost my father just when I was beginning to relate to him as an adult and make amends. 6 years ago next month. The good part is exactly what you said--moving on is easier by the time of the actual anniversary. It's given me a lot of good things to think about, too.

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  7. Your sister appears to be quiet beautiful in an ethereal sort of way. There is something in that photo that is so compelling to me. Sort of words of substance spoken without sound...

    I am blessed to be able to grow old in the presence of my sisters and brother who have been witness to my life.

    Life is indeed good when we have those that surround us, love us, and lift us up through the sad times. You do know that you have an army of those at your calling...

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