Thursday, March 5, 2009
A Lesson Learned
This is a unique anniversary. You were here on this earth for fourteen years and now today, you've been gone for fourteen years. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you but on this day, March 5th, the events that transpired on the day of your death inevitably play out in my mind and all at the same time it is a very difficult day and a day of celebration. The hard memories are there but even more, the fun and goofy, the sweet and tender memories are there and they kind of balance each other out creating a paradox. Sometimes the memories open the wound and sometimes the memories are a salve for the wound.
As I reflected on some of those memories this week, I remembered a valuable lesson I learned from you. It was a painful lesson to learn but it has impacted my life possibly more than any other experience I had with you. I was an insecure high school student and I hated it when mom was late picking me up from school because I felt like a loner waiting on the grass with no one to hang out with. One day she was especially late and when she pulled up and I saw that you were in the car with her, I was frustrated because I knew that you had delayed her. It was definitely a process to get you out of the house, especially with your wheelchair. I knew if she would have left you at home she would have been on time and I said something to that effect when I got in the car.
Oh Lex, I know you know how many tears I have shed over this incident. It is the most painful regret I have. The insensitivity, the selfishness and the lack of perspective I had still just make me so angry with myself. You were quiet on the way home and later slipped a note under my bedroom door apologizing for making mom late and explaining how everyday you missed me while I was at school and how you counted the minutes until I would return home and be with you. You said you would beg mom to take you with her because you couldn't wait to see me and you needed the fresh air. You expressed your love for me and I had never been so humbled in my life. I was so so ashamed and hot tears rolled down my cheeks as my heart thudded in my tightening chest. It was physically painful to realize what I had done and how I had hurt you.
I know you forgave me that night as I begged for your forgiveness and hugged you while I cried. We talked everything out but I STILL have not forgiven myself for that and as much as I have suffered over my mistake that day, I am so grateful for the lessons it taught me. The most poignant lesson I learned and have INTERNALIZED is to never take my loved ones for granted. Lexi, I would give ANYTHING to have that moment back. I would give anything to have mom pull up in her car with you in the front seat...I would run and throw the door open and tell you how much I had missed you all day. I would hug you and not let go, I would look into your eyes and smell your hair and tell you, "I LOVE YOU so much."
I'm comforted now by the knowledge that I WILL have that moment again. I will see you again and until then, I promise the hurt you felt that day will not be in vain because you taught me to always have an eternal perspective. And with that gift I will treasure and appreciate all the precious moments, as momentous or mundane as they may be, with the people in my life.
I miss you Lex. I am grateful for the fourteen years I got to be your big sister and I'm grateful for the fourteen years that you have been my angel. Thank you for the lessons.