Today, my sister died.
I stood in the front pew waiting my turn to say my final goodbye. This was it. I felt as if a hundred jagged-edged knives slammed into my heart, twisting it to pulp until it turned to nothingness.
There she was- beautiful. Her soft cheeks rounded by too many Krispy Kremes, her eyes closed, but not tight. Her hands draped across her stomach and in them was a daisy, just like her name. Oh, how that daisy was so beautiful; it looked like it would never wither. Even the scent was fresh and it took me back.
Daisy and I were seven. We weren’t allowed to play in the meadow outside our apartment, but that didn’t stop us. Daisy especially possessed a strong-will about her that nothing could squash. In the far corner of the meadow was a patch of daisies. Mom told her the same story before bed each night since she was a baby. She’d say when she was pregnant, she would come to this daisy patch, sit down right here, and let the breeze take over and the smell of daisies fill her until she had no more room for air.
I looked over my shoulder- there was Mom. I saw the steady stream of silent tears cascade down her cheek until they dropped off her chin. Silent tears were the worst because only you knew you suffered. I allowed her this private moment; just this once she needed to be alone with a room full of people. Dad was standing next to her feigning strength. He protectively held mom’s shoulder causing her to lean slightly toward his middle. He refused to cry.
It was my turn. I had so much I wanted to say, needed to say, but the words escaped me when I saw her face up close. From far away, she looked peaceful but up close, the terror was etched deep in her face and it almost looked like her brow furrowed. I turned my head.
You can do this, I coached myself. This is your baby sister. Do it for her. Think of Daisy.
I looked at her again with a strength I didn’t know I possessed. Everybody else disappeared in the background.
“Daisy,” I said. “There’s so much I need to tell you, but we have all the time in the world for that. I’ll come back to visit you every day,” I promised.
I bent over the edge of her coffin and kissed her cheek. The cold from the coffin sent
shivers down my spine. It was a cold I never felt before; colder than any cold any human could withstand. It was the coldness of death.