My Sister’s Grave

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I stood in front of the gravestone and stared. This person was a part of my family. She had the same parents as me, similar DNA to me. If I ever needed a kidney transplant, she’d be the most viable option.

If she needed a kidney transplant, I would be the most viable option.

I didn’t know her. I’d never met her. She was gone before I had the chance too. I stood and stared at her grave, wondering what would have been if she were alive. I would have an older sister. She would have given me advice on boys and friends. She would have protected me. I would tell her all my problems. We’d take on the world together. I’d never be alone again.

But I am alone. 

I read the inscribing on the stone.
5th March 1996 – 18th August 2001.
She was five years old. How can something so terrible happen to a five year old? What kind of evil would do that?

The worst kind.

She’d never gotten to see the things I did. She’d never been to first grade. She’d never learnt to ride a bicycle. She’d never gotten to carry me around.

I’d never gotten to pull her hair when I was learning to grip. I’d never gotten to ask her to fake mum’s signature on a leave letter. We’d never gotten to bond like normal siblings do.

I looked over to mum and dad standing next to me. Mum was crying softly on dad’s shoulder. Dad held on to mum tightly and looked pained. I cannot even imagine what they’d had to go through. I don’t how they could ever look at me and not think about how there were supposed to be two, but there’s only one. I don’t know how my mum doesn’t cry everyday, feeling the absence of her oldest daughter. I don’t know how my dad looks me in the eye and tells me that everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how my parents could love me the way they loved her, knowing that I survived and she didn’t.

It was a cold Saturday night. Mum and dad had taken her for a long drive to the countryside. She sat at the back, playing with her toys. I was still safely inside my mother’s womb. The highway was empty, and my dad drove the fastest he could while still being safe. My parents were laughing and thinking of names to give me, while my sister joined the conversation, shouting suggestions like “Goldie! Pinkie! Little Miss Muffin!” 

The brisk wind blew right across my face as hot tears begun to pour down my face. I had a sister. I’d never met her. She died when she was five. She never for to call me Goldie. She never got to collect Barbies. She never got to reach adolescence. She never got to have a boyfriend. She never got to experience high school, with all its perks and downfalls.

Mum and Dad laughed at her names. She felt offended.
“Why are you laughing? I like my names!”
“Aw baby girl, you wanna name your little sister Goldie?” My mum purred
“I actually like Little Miss Muffin the best, you know” My dad laughed.
“I think the best one is -”
She never got to finish her sentence. My dad’s laugh was cut short by my mum’s gasp, “Turn right! Turn right!”

But it was too late. Human reflexes aren’t as fast out of control 16 wheelers. Its the only flaw in our mechanism, other than the ability to feel guilt.

The huge vehicle slammed into the left side of our car. My sister screamed. Mum held her stomach protectively while Dad sat helplessly on the opposite side. Once the movement was over, Dad screamed for my sister and my mother. The truck driver called 911 and helped mum out of the car. He couldn’t find my sister under all that debris. My parents never held anything against the driver. The vehicle malfunctioned.

The doctors said my sister died immediately on impact. There was no point in trying to resuscitate her. Mum still has scars from the broken shrapnel and  glass pieces. Dad still goes for trauma therapy. Yet somehow, through it all, I survived without a scratch on my body. Not even old enough to come into the real world, I survived a car crash.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t.

I stood there staring at my sister’s grave for the first time. She was five years old. I’d never met her, and yet, in some way, I felt responsible. I stood there and imagined how she would have looked. Would she have the same straight black hair as me? Maybe she’d have my father’s grey eyes, my mother’s nimble fingers and radiant smile. Would she have been as stubborn as me? Maybe she’d be as my sensitive as Mum and as strong as Dad.

Sometimes I wonder how it would have been to have an older sister. She’d teach me how to do make up. We’d make breakfast together on Sunday mornings. We’d decorate our room. She’d comfort me when I cried. I’d stand up for her. She’d fight for me. We could have been unstoppable.

My eyes stung and I couldn’t look any longer. My parents seemed to be stuck in time. I could never forgive myself for being alive when my sister was dead.

I turned around and walked away, promising myself never to go back there

I couldn’t imagine having a sister anymore. It hurt too much.

~going back to my perfect reverie



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