I had a sister once, Janne. Or someone I called my sister. She was my mother’s best friend, younger than her and older than me. Like the big sister I never wanted but somehow got anyway. She died very suddenly three years ago, but today would have been her birthday. On this day, I used to remember reading Shakespeare for the first time in ninth grade with my favourite English teacher, Miss O’Driscoll.
Beware the ides of March.
Now I think of what I would do differently.
When Janne died, we hadn’t really spoken for six months. I was crushed after my uncle died, but she never once called me to ask how I was or to offer sympathy. Even when she knew perfectly well how close he and I were, how much he meant to me. I took offence and never called her, and the only time she called me I was in the middle of a date and brushed her off. I regret that now.
I always thought we would find the time to talk again. I always planned to forgive and move on. One day.
I never knew that she was sick. I never knew all the tragedy she carried with her from her childhood. I never realised, because she was also so cheerful and upbeat, just how desperately unhappy she was.
Sometimes we don’t get another chance. Sometimes that tomorrow never comes. In the blink of an eyelid the moment, and someone we loved, can be gone.
So say what you haven’t said. Let go of that grudge. Call the friend you miss but haven’t spoken to since they did something to make you angry. Be there for the one who needs you.
In the week after she died, I cried in my car every morning on the way to work. I listened to the same song over and over again. I still have all the notes, all the things I would have said. I wanted to turn them into a story, but I found that only anger came out.
Maybe one day that will change.