I was recently reminded by a friend of this post of mine from 2006, which I wrote in commemoration of International Women's Day.
In it, I talked about how much I respected my sister and what I had learned (and was still learning) from her (see the last but one paragraph). Sigh. I miss her so much. I can hardly believe that she is gone and in a way that could have been prevented. I can't let myself be burnt out by anger (although I have been through that phase and it still re-surfaces).
Many people have said that time will heal the pain. Others have reminded me that God is the ultimate comforter, while some others have told me that it is important to talk about her and keep her memory alive as much as I'm comfortable with. I look forward to the pain lessening over time. I look forward to a time when I can think of her, things she said, her mannerisms and still smile through it.
People have told me that in time I might struggle to even remember what she looked like or her voice. Oh my goodness, I hope not!
There is so much to celebrate about her short-yet-purposeful life. She wasted no time on things that did not appeal to her or which she thought would add no value to her life. She was driven to make our bookshop a success and was diligent in documenting processes and transactions.
And when I think about it, the way she lived is really the best way to live. Our time on this earth is a finite resource (despite how it might seem right now) and you don't want to fritter it unduly. You don't want to waste precious hours in activities that you neither enjoy or which serve no purpose to your over-arching goals just for the sake of 'being nice.' It's not to say that you don't have fun or put yourself out for others sometimes, but keep your eye on what really matters - the big picture.
My sister had a vision statement for her life, which I came across this week. Again, I was struck by how determined she was to make the most of her life. I have no written vision statement for my life, although I do have some clear ideas of how I want to live this life of mine.
So now, although the loss of my sister is easily the most devastating experience of my life, it cannot have happened to no avail. This is a very painful reminder to me to live for what's important: God, serving Him, making time for family and friends, pursuing my interests, among others. I'm going to try to articulate this in the form of a vision statement for my life. I'm going to be more mindful of how I spend my time and especially not think that things will fall apart in the office if I don't spend all my hours working. So many thoughts have run through my mind over this last few weeks about what I should do more of or less of.
Most importantly - for now, I will allow myself all the time I need to grieve and not be too bothered by those who tell me not to cry or to "be strong" or "be strong for my parents." We all need to support each other now. And we all need time to heal.