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20 years ago today I lost one of my best friends – my eldest sister Annette – to cancer.

I wrote about her two years ago when I first started my blog – and I still can’t believe how time goes by so quickly! How CAN it be 20 whole years?!!!!

This is what I wrote:

Being just over 16 years older than me, my sister became a very influential figure in my life – and, in fact, is testament to the person I am today. She taught me so much, alot of it unknowingly, that I can almost hear her sometimes when I talk. She had a wonderful sense of humour, a strong belief in what was right and wrong – and whilst having the biggest hair and the biggest heart – she also didn’t suffer any fools and within a few words was able to sort out any injustices and put things right again.

She also became my main influence music wise. Along with my Mum she became my biggest encouragement regarding playing (and practising) the piano. I also grew up listening to the sounds of her vinyl collection; Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, Renaissaince, Cat Stevens, Genesis to name but a few – and these still remain firm favourites of mine within my own collection today.

I can put on a song and be transported back to a moment in time with my sis where we would sit and read lyrics or sing along together. She taught me to read, even before I went to school, so singing along to album sleeve lyrics was a particular favourite activity of mine. She was the only one in my family who would read me to sleep and the only one who would comfort me in the middle of the night when I had nightmares. I wasn’t allowed coffee until I was older, but my sister would always save me a little bit at the bottom of her cup. I can still remember her lipstick smudged mug – along with the bitter sweet taste of fresh coffee, sugar and lip-gloss. These little sounds, sights and smells; all memories, frozen in time.  

When she and her husband moved away down South, I would go and spend weeks away at a time in the school holidays. She would take time off work and we would go out for day trips and go out for dinner in the evenings. This is something that I had never done before. Despite being busy or tired herself from work, she would always take time to play games; cards and chess amongst others. She always made time. So many happy memories.

What I really struggle to comprehend is the fact that I am older now than the age she was when she died of cancer. I am 36 – and so she has been missing from my life for over half of those years! I can’t comprehend that either! I also hate the fact that I can’t remember her voice. 

I know that she still lives on through me – within my memories, my thoughts and my actions – but to not see someone so special for that length of time is still very hard to deal with sometimes. I’d love to know what she thinks about my job, my studies, my partner and my home.

Time has taught me that despite the passing of so many years, you never fully get over a loss like that – you just learn how to live with it. And deal with it I normally do, but she is never far from my thoughts.

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So much has happened to me in the last 20 years that I don’t mind admitting how much I resent the fact someone so influential and precious to me has not lived to either see or be part of my journey. It’s hard watching my Mum get upset – and I continue to miss her love, her wisdom and her advice greatly.

I cannot even put it into words, but things have never been the same since she died.

So, I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to share her memory with you again today.

To my beautiful sister –  I will always cherish and celebrate the time we had together – and I will always love and miss you – love from your little brother x

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