Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My sister Tarnia's anniversary...grief and time and how it feels...to me

Today is the anniversary of my only sister Tarnia’s death. A day when my family’s lives changed forever. In a split second, we were irrevocably altered.

Today, I can’t help think of all Tarnia has missed out on. How much of her love her children have missed out on. And how many nights her husband Tone has wished she was here.

My sister Tarnia and Mum

Grief over time changes, it has to.

Time does change the emotional feelings grief creates, from one of intensity when you first lose someone, to an ache, a sadness and a longing.

However, on anniversaries like today, you are catapulted back in time to all the horrors of that day, when you thought you’d never survive the emotions….but you do.

And if I had to describe my grief back then, in a way someone could understand, through the senses, I would say….

You SEE grief as black

You SMELL grief as acrid

You FEEL grief like cutting

You HEAR grief as silence

You TASTE grief as salty

On the weekend while browsing the stores, I came across this magnificent hourglass. I decided to buy it. It reminds me that life is but a bunch of fleeting moments, like the fine grains of sand that trickle from one bulb to the other….representing the fact that we are all in between our past and our future. And that we can grow from our experience, even if it IS grief….as to be the case with me.

The hour glass also symbolizes to be mindful of time…it awakens my consciousness to the fact that life goes on.

As it has since Tarnia has died. I’ve had the privilege of watching Tone pick up the broken pieces of his life since this day eleven years ago….and step up and raise their children….who are all happy and healthy!

The kids with Savannah....four months after the accident

I’ve thought today how her kids were just babe’s when they lost their mother. And how time has marched forward.......

Tone and the kids, Dempsey and me last Christmas.....

Alexander, who was only 8 at the time, is now in his first year at University…with a scholarship I might add! :) 

Fraser, her 5 year old who was such a mummy’s boy has a few years left of high school…and three jobs…and a pretty girlfriend.

And then there’s the twins, Emerald and Charlotte, who were only 6 months and never knew their mum. They are blossoming! Two beautiful girls who have each other…which makes me wonder if this is why Tarnia was blessed with twins…they will always have each other!

How proud, how absolutely beaming she would be with her family that she left behind. I can almost hear her nudging me, and talking through a half laugh as she did..bragging about her babies.  But she’s not here…so I do that now.

In her children, I feel a small part of what I lost losing Savannah has been patched back into my heart. I love them like my own.

So today, on her anniversary, grief has wrapped itself around my day.....it’s slowed it down and sharpened my senses.  And if I had to describe what my grief feels like today, what it’s taught me…through watching her children grow the past 11 years..through my senses I’d say;

I SEE grief as a flame

I SMELL grief as apple pie

I FEEL grief as a hug

I HEAR grief as the kids laughter

I TASTE grief as chocolate

Tarnia’s death has left a huge void in our lives. But it’s also taught us courage, growth and gratitude for so many things.  Today I noticed her children’s facebook pages, they haven’t forgotten either…and its clear they miss her too.

Alexander her oldest, who is the most like her in personality…private…has simply written "11". Fraser, who is a bit like me wrote “Eleven years has gone by and this has been the worst year yet.” My heart will always ache for them.

We will always be trapped by our memories, like the sand in my hourglass and our memories from that day eleven years ago…however, like the hour glass….you can choose to turn it upside down and start again….start tomorrow with my happy memories of her...and a promise I made, when I saw her last…to live life to the fullest and love her kids….because she can’t.

Today, I know two things...I will always miss my big sister...and tomorrow, will always be a new day…….


  1. Thinking of you today, dear Diana, and holding you close in my heart ♥

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your sister -- seeing the pics of her children and how they have blossomed in your family despite the greatest of losses.

    Beautifully written.


  3. As always you write so beautifully of a delicate and terribly sad subject. She will always be remembered. I look at her photo on my chest of draws everyday. Another sister in my eyes. Well she was around before I was born!!! :-)
    love to you.

  4. Marty,

    You are such a lovely, compassionate, thoughtful lady...I am grateful for your love today. THANK YOU!

    Love Diana x

  5. Louise,

    Thank you for leaving such a heartfelt message. The kids truly have grown into people any mother would be proud of. I only wish my sister was here for them.

    Thank you too for your encouragement with my writing, your words inspire me to keep writing!

    Sending sunshine to you!
    Diana x

  6. Katie,

    Just thank you for all that you do for Tarnia's kids...from one Aunty to another, you always seem to be there for them, to give your love and support and I know they appreciate that.

    I hope you smile when you look at Tarnia's photo, I know she thought of you as a sister too, and a pretty special one...I, too know that now! :)

    sending love to you on this day too....thanks as always for your love and support of us all.

    D x

  7. Thanks Dee, beautiful tribute. :'(

  8. This post truly touched me. I lost my father at age 6, just before entering the first grade. I cannot say that I really even remember him, but have done so through the memories of other family members. You are so right...I always wonder "what if" and still 43 years later miss having had him in my life.

  9. Tone,

    THANK YOU! I thought of you all on Monday and yesterday...it still feels like yesterday even though it's been so long.

    My words are also a reminder to you too of the amazing job you do as mum and dad....Tarnia would be so proud of you!

    love you all lots
    D x

  10. Dear Barbara,

    Thank you for sharing your story and your insight into how it feels to lose a parent...even after so many years.

    I dont think that longing and wondering ever goes away. Reading your comment confirmed what I wonder for my sisters children...I think they will always miss her. Especially her twin daughters when they are teenagers.

    Thanks for stopping by, sending sunshine and love your way. I bet your dad is around, look for the little coincidences.....

    Diana x

  11. Your sister (and you!) have a beautiful family. I bleive your sister would be grateful for how you have loved her children and how you are living your life.

  12. Thank you Candice :)

    I think you are right about what Tarnia would think.

    I also think if the roles were reversed I would want her to be living life the best way she could, with passion and meaning and to love my kids....its interesting how you get perspective if you put yourself in anothers shoes isn't it....

    Hope that little munchican is giving you lots of raspberry kisses!

    love Diana x

  13. Awesome post ~ Wow! You have certainly come a looooong way from your grief and have a beautiful family ~ glad for you ~ The hour glass is a wonderful visual to help you 'Be in the Now' ~ wishing you the best of each day ~ And thanks for your wonderful comments on my blog ~ hugs and namaste, Carol ^_^

  14. Thank you Carol!

    I have come a long way...when I look back to how crazy and horrific it was....and you don't think you'll survive, but as you know, you do. And are richer for it!

    sending hugs to you!
    Diana x


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