Cousins at the Start of Summer 2008
This is my cousin Laura and me at a bar in West View in the Summer of 2008. You can't tell by just looking at this photo, but I had just quit my job as a teacher. And she was battling melanoma. Our night had started on the North Shore, we ran into lots of people we knew because that's how Pittsburgh happens, and we ended up back at a bar in her neighborhood. And I know at least one of us walked home with shoes in our hand and not on our feet. It was the type of night that only those who know you best can supply. And it will forever remain as one of my favorite times we ever shared as adults.
But now it has been five years since the start of that summer. And two years since Laura died.
If Laura were here today, if I could have just one more hour of conversation with her. I would ask her what she thought of how things have played out since she left us. I would want to know if she knew if things got easier for us. I'd want to hear her tell me funny stories. I'd listen to her calm advice and savor her support. I hug her and make her laugh.
I'd tell her that lately I'm not so sure if I've been enough ass out of life for her. That I've been feeling a little lonely and that maybe I'm sometimes less sure that things work out for the best. But I wouldn't want to burden her with my fears. So I would promise that I'm going to go back to kicking the ass out of life again.
When Laura left us two years ago, I couldn't wrap my head around living longer than the person that I grew up with. We were, after all, born just a few months apart. We lived our lives together but separately. So many of the same steps and so many different ones too. To go on in a world without her to share whatever would come just seemed so empty.
And truthfully, it still does.
I cry less often now. And I have quit questioning why such terrible things happen to such terribly good people. Not because I have the answers. But because I think the world has shown me that there are no answers. But still when I'm with my extended family and she's not there, it just feels off. When something happens and she's not there to share it with, it just feels off. When I want the love and support and laughs and cries that only your best family member can give you...well.
My heart still misses her. I still need her help. And I hope she still remembers those whispers.