The Joy of Sadness

She died over two months ago. That was my final realization. The others happened every day between day one and now.

I remember his face clearly. He looked at me so apologetically as he told me she was dead. Dead. He told me she jumped. She was the one at fault.

I yelled at him. This was his fault. He left her behind in the dust when he knew she needed him most. He was her brother. He was supposed to be there for her.  When my fist connected with his face he didn’t flinch. The only difference was a single tear rolling down his face. He cried. He told me he knew it was his fault. He said he missed her.

He didn’t go to the funeral. I called him four times. He didn’t come. When I saw the small, white, cement box I realized I would never see her face again. Not really. The pictures lining the table around her box didn’t look right. She was always smiling. She only ever smiled to hide her true feelings from her family.

She told me once how much she hated faking her joy, but she loved her family too much to make them see her pain. I always thought it was beautiful, how she hid her pain to keep her family safe. Now I just wish they could have been there for her. Maybe then she wouldn’t have done it. I should have told them. I should have saved her.

The funeral passed with a blur. I spoke in it. I don’t remember what I said, but as I closed off my speech with tears rolling down my face, I remember saying it was my fault, that I should have done more. Her parents hugged me and told me it was ok.

Nothing would ever be ok again.

When I got home I got in bed and I didn’t come out for the rest of the day. I didn’t get up day one after the funeral either. My parents tried to get me out of bed. They told me it was over. She was gone, and that I had to accept it eventually.

The tears that drizzled down my face felt like pressure coming in on me from all direction leaving me no escape. I told them she wasn’t gone; she couldn’t be gone. I told them I didn’t want to leave my bedroom because going to school and finding her gone would bring fresh pain all over again.

It wasn’t until day three after the funeral that I finally got up, and then it felt like the world was crashing down on me. What was the point. She was gone. Everything I did, I did for her. I thought we were sisters. I thought she would never leave me. Were all those words she told me empty.

On day four my mother made me go to school. The hallways felt so dull. She wasn’t there beside me laughing and telling stories that I’ve already heard. My teachers all looked at me sympathetically as I walked into class and asked me if I was ok.

Of course I wasn’t ok. My world had been torn limb from limb as I watched hers fold up into nothingness. My teachers explained assignments and I forgot them the minute they said them. I forgot everything they said.

I cried when I got home. I hated how much effort it took for me to go to school and even then I knew it wasn’t enough. I cried because there was no one waiting for me at my locker after my last class to walk with me to the bus, even though her mother drove her home. I cried because I was alone, and I didn’t know what to do.

The days blurred together quickly. It was day 23 when I realized that this would be the first quarter I didn’t make 4.0 on the honor roll. I wouldn’t even make the honor roll. My teachers all seemed concerned with me. Some of them looked at me judgmentaly with a look of disapproval, and others looked at me sadly like I was already dead.

Day 34 my parents found out about my bad grades. The school called them. They tried to talk to me and I wanted to try to explain why they were failing, but the only thing I could think about was her. I felt like I couldn’t move on because if I did what would happen to her legacy. So I decided that day that I wasn’t allowed to forget her. Ever.

It was day 67 when my parents insisted on me going to a therapist. I never actually looked at his face. If he asked a question I would nod or shake my head. I hated the sessions, because he only spoke of letting go of her, and I needed to remember her.

Day 76 my therapist introduced me to a different one. This one only asked questions that you had to answer with words, but he wanted me to forget about her all together. I hated every moment that I had to spend in that room.

On Day 78 I started homeschooling. I hated that as well because my mother would beg me to wake up. She would cry and tell me to be her daughter again. I hated letting her down, I really did. But I hated myself so much more.

Day 84 I walked right out of my therapy session. He tried to stop me, but I just walked right out. It felt so free. One foot in front of the other and I left the therapist, my mother, and my teachers all behind to drown in their own expectations.

I just kept walking. My therapist walked beside me, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t speaking so everything was ok. Soon I found myself in front of her house.

Everything crashed down on me all at once. I realized that she died over two months ago. The pain, the wasted time and the constant pain. For a split second there were tears and then I dropped right there on the side-walk.

My therapist sat down beside me and asked me if this was her house.

I nodded.

This time, he was silent. He let me cry and I loved every second of it. I wanted to cry. It felt good. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. When I was done he looked at me with a proud look and told me that I needed to cry. He said that the only way I could release my emotions was through crying.

I still miss her so, so much. And I know my story is far from over. But right now as these tears spill down my face I don’t mind so much that I still have to survive tomorrow. I just like the idea of crying today.