She had a gorgeous dragonfly tattooed on her upper back, resplendent in greens, yellows, blues, purples and reds. I wish I had a photograph of it. Its wings spanned just between her shoulder blades, a moving, living work of art. Graceful, subtly colourful... very much like the woman she was.
Three years ago, my sister's life ended in an instant. She was killed in a highway accident on her way home from work when an SUV, being driven by a woman stoned out of her mind on gawd only knows what drugs, crossed over the centre line and hit my sister's car head on. It was an older Toyota Camry that had been our Mum's and it didn't have airbags. She took the steering column straight in the chest and it crushed out her life in a split second.
It also crushed my heart and soul. Laurel and I were four years' apart in age, but very close together in spirit. From the time I was in my mid teens, we were friends as well as sisters. We hung out together for years, becoming more and more like best friends rather than just sisters.
Even now, three years later, the pain of that loss can overtake me, causing me to sob my heart out. I have also lost both my parents, but they both died of diseases that took time to claim their energy. Time that allows you to come to terms with the loss, knowing they would no longer be suffering and in pain, and then death comes as a relief as well as a loss.
But the tragic ending of my sister's existence allowed nothing.... no coming to terms with the emptiness that will always exist in my heart. No reasonable explanation for her passing. No time for acceptance.
Only the hollowness remains, the piece of my heart that died along with her that day, the loss of contact and companionship with her.
But the memories of her love, her laugh, her kindness and generosity, her wisdom and humour, flow through me like a constant trickle of warm, sweet water, soothing and smoothing. Her laugh, her face are reflected in her daughter, who lives a 10 minute walk from me. Even more than that, her spirit lives on in both of her children. Both her son and daughter have become such loving, wise and warm people as they have grown. She lives on through them and I am blessed to be part of both of their lives and the lives of their families.
Today is a day of revisiting the past, of remembering her smile, the warmth of her gaze, the closeness of her hug. The love that emanated from her for all those who shared her life is still palpable to me and I hold it close to my heart, wishing beyond dreams that it could be herself that I hold close.