Change happens. I suppose. You know in your head that it happens, and you’re pretty sure you’ve seen it happen to other people. But then it happens to you and it seems like everything has changed all at once.
My only sister got married last month. Less than a week later, my grandmother, my last surviving grandparent, died.
Weirdly enough, I cried more at my sister’s wedding than I did at my grandmother’s service. I’m not sure what that says about me. I had four big breakdowns: one, when I saw her in her wedding dress for the first time; two, after I signed the document that legally and officially stated we no longer shared a name; three, watching her dance with my dad; four, drunk in bed at 2 a.m.
Maybe I should have prefaced this story with the fact that I’m a big weepy bitch.
I was the maid of honour, and not a terribly good one. I didn’t care much about centrepieces or how many chairs we needed or how I was going to do my make-up. I wrote my speech two days before and I don’t think it sucked, but it very well may have.
The speech has been in my head for years. I had a chance to say everything I’ve ever wanted to say to my sister in that speech, and I didn’t say it all. No re-do’s. I wanted to talk about how much I feel like I’ve fucked up the last 21 years of being a sister and how I feel the chance to make it up to her has long past. I wanted to tell her how afraid I am of losing her.
I wanted to say how much I’m going to miss her.
Growing up isn’t something that happens all at once. Friends from high school are posting pictures of their babies. You’re looking at post-grad options and internships. Then one day, while you’re debating whether you should dry clean your only professional-looking blazer, you realize, “Holy shit, I think I might be an adult.”
My sister’s wedding was the last time I saw my grandmother alive and smiling. When I saw her again, her ashes were in a little black box. It didn’t make sense. How did someone I had visited every holiday for tea and treats end up in a little black box? Just a week after I felt I lost my childhood with my sister, I lost my childhood with Nan. I don’t have a hell of a lot of childhood left to lose.
Change doesn’t ask your permission to happen. It comes raining in on you – first one drop, then a hurricane. In university, it’s easy to see myself in a purgatory between childhood and my adult life in the “real world.” But I think that just happened, and somehow, I didn’t even see it coming.
My sister’s wedding ring is thin and silver and it fits perfectly. My grandmother was wearing her wedding ring from 1946 when she died. My mother didn’t want to see it cremated, so she gave it to me. Both of my mother’s daughters got rings: one through love, one through death.
I held my sister’s newly-ringed hand as we laid flowers by my grandmother’s little black box
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