On December 21, 1989 my big sister Ariel Joann Abramson was born. On February 25, 2017 she died. This winter solstice was the first birthday after her death.
Today it feels like my shoulders are trying to hold up my whole body.
It’s a tough job with such a heavy heart, I feel them start to tremble from effort.
I didn’t realize that sadness can overtake me while acceptance holds ground.
Or perhaps, I’m fooling myself, perhaps I don’t know what it fully means to accept that it’s my sister’s birthday but she’s no longer alive to celebrate it.
Does that mean it’s not really her birthday anymore?
Once we die, do we no longer keep a birthday?
I look up at these wooden guardian angels that hover over the living room.
It reminds me that she’s near, that she’s hovering close by.
Oh, how to participate in this day – part of me wanting to hide under the covers, part of me wanting to participate in deep reverence.
Not just for my sister’s life, but for the darkest night of the year, the winter solstice.
Today marks the would-be 29th revolution around the sun, but then that’s not completely true.
Because would-be and could-be are not what’s real, she is not alive for the 29th revolution, therefore, her birthdays conclude at 28.
Remember being young and being so excited for each birthday, so proud of becoming a year older?
And how perfect it is that the darkness of the night swallows us tonight.
That we are slowing down, deepening, going towards the darkness, accompanied by the night stars to keep us company.
I will not turn away from the pain today because I know that the pain is honoring her, me, us.
The pain is a gateway to mysteries and stories unknown,
To past, present, future, to one pattern in the tapestry ending and another beginning.
Today, I will sit into this heart breaking beauty.
Today, I will tell my shoulders to be just be shoulders, it’s ok if I fall.
Each tear, each gasp, the weeping, they sing a song for you, dear sister.
They sing a song for your birth, for your life, for your death.
The notes following each other, leaning into each other, weaving to form the sound of all of our broken hearts.
I bow deeply to you, dear grief, I honor the loss, what a big loss, what a gaping hole that will never be filled again.
And I kneel under the night sky, peering up at the stars, letting my baby sister self gaze up and imagine that you are now a star bringing light to the night sky.
I love you, Ari, rest well in the dark night of the soul.