“What could I have done if I had one more day with her”
Fiction. Based on a True Story of Loss.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
Most of all, I remember her ears. They stuck out a little too far and pointed just barely at the tips. When we were young and playing tag in the front yard so mom could see us, I would call her elf just to taunt her. She hated her ears and did everything she could to hide them. She’d brush her hair forward, sometimes so far that you could barely see her face. She’d then lean forward ever so slightly to keep the hair in place. I hardly ever saw her without a hat. Winter was her favorite time of year because no one gave her strange looks with her hat on. She’d scream and curse at me, but not too loud to be heard through the screen door, and throw whatever she could find in the grass. Sometimes it was a stick. Sometimes it was a piece of bark or a rock. That’s how I got the scar over my eye, actually.
One day she’d been sitting on the porch with her journal, writing whatever it was that she loved to write about. I’d been riding up and down the street and around the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids. I don’t know why I wanted to tease her. Maybe it was because she was alone. Maybe it was because I felt alone, even when surrounded by all the other kids. Anyway, I screamed elf at her while riding in front of the house. I wish I could describe the hurt in her eyes that day. It was different than normal and somehow, made my heart ache just from looking at her. As I rode back past the house, she was waiting in the driveway with a large rock in her hand. Before I could react, the rock was sailing through the air and colliding with my right eye. I fell off my bike and rolled on the asphalt. My vision was blurry with red and when I wiped my face, my hand came away covered in blood. My dad took me to the emergency room where I was stitched up and bandaged. She was grounded for two weeks after that. I said “my” dad because he was my dad alone. My sister was actually my half-sister, but we weren’t allowed to say that. We were sisters and that was all.
After the incident, we grew more and more apart. We were like strangers living in the same house. I would ignore her every chance I got. I stopped calling her elf, but I found ways to make sure she knew that I was making fun of her ears. I’d stare at them or make pointed jokes. I should have seen the sadness in her smile or heard the pain in her laugh.
We went to separate colleges. I didn’t call her. I didn’t text her. I didn’t even send an email. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to be independent. She killed herself at the end of the fall semester. I was devastated for months, as one is when a loved one dies and all I could think about was how little I was there for her growing up.
I found one of her journals when helping my parents clear out her room. I couldn’t read them. I didn’t want to know what she wrote. I would let her keep her secrets. Though, if I’d had one more day with her, I would have asked her to spill her heart to me. I would have apologized and for all the mean things I’d did. I would have told her that her ears were beautiful and not something to hide. She resembled an ethereal creature so powerful and smart that humans dulled in comparison. I would have told her…
I loved her.