Amy is my gorgeous older sister and the namesake behind Love Aunty Amy. She was the original Favourite Aunty, my best friend and today, the 27th of September 2018, Amy should have turned 34. This will be the 9th birthday we have celebrated without her and to be honest they never get easier.
For me, the time since Amy died has been a massive ride of ups and downs, but I am happy to say after 8 years of riding the roller coaster, I think I am in a space that is generally more up and than down. There were lots of things people told me when she first died (and if one more person had said to me the so very impersonal statement of “sorry for your loss” I would have smacked them in the face), but to be honest not many people were able tell me what I needed to know.
1. You Will Laugh
I think I am a person that uses humour in awkward situations. One of the last things Amy and I did together was going shopping for her new couch. We found the perfect one and she paid the deposit and off we went. A week later I was back in the shop with her receipt, explaining the situation and paying the remainder of the balance to take the couch home with me. When I made a joke about the least she could have done was paid for it in full before she died the sales assistant didn’t quite know what say… At least it gave me a chuckle.
2. You Will Cry
And you will cry a lot. And it really does help. Sometimes when I need to have a good sob I will open my “Amy Box” or listen to her favourite songs knowing it will bring on the tears. And after a while it helps. And somehow you can deal with it all again. There were many tears shed writing this blog and I am sure there will be more today.
3. You Won’t Know What You Need
This is where good friends need to step in and tell you what you need. Because you really can’t answer that one. I was so lucky to have friends to hold my hand, to drop off food, to drop in un-invited because I didn’t think I needed them that day and I did. And I am so lucky that even now I have friends that remember all the key dates, even if they weren’t in my life Amy died, and I am honestly so lucky to have them.
4. You Will Have Regrets
The last time Amy and I spoke we fought. Over some crappy shoes I was wearing that were getting old and she told me it was time they went in the bin. While she was the one who had gotten so stingy while saving up to buy her first house (that she was the very proud owner of but never got to live in) that Kmart knickers were a splurge. She did kiss me goodbye as she left, but I never got to tell her one last time I loved her. Instead, we fought over shoes that I wore the entire time she was in hospital, and 8 years later are still in my cupboard. Sister fight and regardless of a pair of shoes, she knew I loved her and I know she loved me. But it took me a long time to make peace with that.
5. You Will Always Have Your Memories
Here are some of my memories of Amy. And through all the pain it is these little moments that I honestly treasure. About a week before Amy died we quite literally bumped into each other at the train station after work. We lived in opposite directions and normally finished at different times, but that day we had a quick 5-minute chat waiting for our trains. To this day I still have the text message I sent her telling her that seeing her had made my day. Amy may be gone, but she will always be with me.
Grief is a long, slow process. It comes in waves like in the ocean. In the beginning, they are hard and fast and you can barely keep your head above water. After a while, the waves space out and you get a little breathing room, but the next wave does come just as hard as the first one. And the waves will always come and sometimes they will push you under, but you will ALWAYS pop back up. It might just take a while and a few friends to make sure you do.
Happy 34th birthday Amy. I hope today you receive a never-ending supply of chocolate and sandwiches without lettuce. Just how you like them. I miss you to the moon and back and always will.
P.S. For those of you who know me personally, you may wonder why this blog doesn’t talk about Claire, my equally amazing sister and Amy’s identical twin. I have deliberately chosen to write this from my perspective as I don’t want to speak on Claire’s behalf. Over the years Claire has found a way to mark Amy’s Birthday, to miss her like crazy and have an opportunity to be sad, but still celebrate her own day because that is important for her and her family too. It took a long time, but she found a way and I am so proud of Claire for that.