Today is my sister’s birthday. Tarnia will forever be 39 years old. She never got to celebrate her 40th birthday!
While writing this blog outside on this warm May morning, I noticed a tiny whispy feather trapped in some dry grass that had blown up to our door. It was trapped like all of us are on this grief journey, however, I smiled when I saw it. A message from Tarnia today I’m sure!
There are deep-seated messages and lessons I’ve learned from her death that today, I reflected on.
As I poured boiling water into my tea this morning the steam from the kettle blended with the tears in my eyes. “Happy Birthday Tarnia” I said to myself. And the word that popped into my head to describe her not being here…. “unfair.” And it is unfair and unjust…but those emotions can lead to feeling bitter. And that’s not how Tarnia would want me to be….with a slip of a vowel; I can choose to turn bitter into better instead!
To be a better aunt, a better sister, a better wife, a better daughter, a better friend and a better Mum to Dempsey. To be better at being aware of just how lucky I am to be here!
To be better at relishing in each day instead of wasting it or complaining about trivial stuff. Like the other night….I sat and eavesdropped at a party as two friends obsessed over how many calories are in peanut butter!! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I wanted to say “Be grateful you can enjoy bloody peanut butter!”
It is unfair that this morning her twin girls won’t climb into her bed beside her for a cuddle. Or that Fraser can’t pick a bunch of sweet smelling roses from her garden for her, as he does for me now. Oh, and how she’d be smiling, listening in awe about the naughty goings on Alexander has been up to in his first semester of University down in the big smoke. And Tone, who’s left with the mess and only memories and an empty side of the bed.
And my Dad….today, I told him I was thinking of him…he just thanked me, as Peter probably will with Dempsey one day when its her sisters birthday. Yes, it’s difficult not to be bitter…. Nonetheless, I do look at her death on her special day as a reminder to me to “be better!”
The loss of a loved one rips you apart, but time can be an amazing ally. Like a therapist….it allows us an interlude where slowly, every so slowly, piece by piece, time puts the majority of you back together. Even though your core is different, you can become better because of it. Like a jigsaw puzzle, where all the pieces finally fit back together, and you can clearly see the big picture. However, with my puzzle there will always be one impossible piece that will never fit. A renegade chunk that can be bitter and it IS a constant battle to stop that part of the puzzle from changing me into someone I don’t want to be. And neither would my sister!
I bet if I could have one last conversation with her, if she knew that it would be the last…she would say, “Diana, love my kids. Look after Tone. Laugh a lot. Take care of Dad. And kiss your babies” and that’s the better bit….because of that, I strive to be better.
So today, it is her birthday, but I feel like I have been given a gift. A gift to realize and appreciate and never never forget to be happy, to love my loved ones with gusto and to be a BETTER person! Tarnia was always smiling, and she’d want that for me too!
Happy Birthday Tarnia and thank you…you will always be my big sister……and, I will always miss you. x