This is an open letter to my beloved sisters. Love you both dearly..
Dear Hannah and Samantha,
Life is cruel and unfair, is it not? You know this far better than many people I know. And I know it is because of me that you know. You went from playing with Animal and swimming in pools to spending nights alone while our parents visited me in hospitals and cared for me with the passion and intensity necessary, yet damaging to your little lives. Bones grew and lengthened in a world foreign and ill equipped to offer the necessary calcium and minerals for healthy growth. My illness has not only taken so much from me, but it has taken part of your world, your childhood, from you. Unfortunately it continues to do so, and my heart breaks with every breath I stifle and every moment I sequester from the feeble existence I have created for you. No words I write or utter can return a childhood, a happiness to you, but I shall try. If at most you read them, my heart will be sufficed.
Hannah, thank you for the eight months you put your life on hold for my care. For twice a week you made the approximately 55-60 mile trek to Kaiser Sunnyside to take me for electroconvulsive therapy treatments. We left often before six o’clock A.M. in darkness and fog, and while I often slept for the duration of the car ride, you were forced to remain alert and diligent. You would then wait in the car in the parking lot for over five or six hours as I received treatment, and then you would drive over an hour to take me home. This was your life. My life was your life, and it still is. You drive me to all doctors’ appointments and pick me from the train station at every beck and call. You are even relegated to take me to get haircuts. Our lives have become so enmeshed, and in this enmeshment you have lost your identity while retaining mine. I must work to cut the tethers, allow you to live once again. I promise you that I will try to do this, as it is pinnacle for your survival. I pray, please find your way. Go to school, work, anything of the sort, but be happy. I want nothing more than to see you happy.
Samantha, you would not remember this, but when you were still very young – maybe seven years old – you hugged me when I was in a moment of anxiety and rage. We now do not talk very often, and my illness distances us. You suffer, too, ravaged by depression and anxiety. I wish there were something that could bring us together, to hug one another in times of down and times of anxiety. I am so proud of you for moving on with your life – attending college, living on your own, going on dates – and if the best that our relationship can sustain to be is distance at this point, I, as I do for Hannah, want you to be happy. Hopefully someday we can mend our wounds, close the distance and reconcile, but your happiness is what I treasure in my heart. I send my love and apologies for the hell you had to live through, and I know not yet whether these wishes have permeated the barrier of your heart, but I will continue to try. I will not give up. For neither you or Hannah.
You have always lived in my shadow – my good grades, excellence in music and other extracurriculars. Teachers would often refer to you as “Alex’s sister.” How painful it must be to have an identity defined by someone else’s shadow, not to be one’s own person. While I did not choose this position, I certainly filled it. Please know that you are so special and unique, probably far more so than I. I beg of you, laugh, smile, and move on in your lives. Claim what is due to you, what you deserve. I will sit here quietly and wait for our connections to tie once again, but most of all, I would like to say I love you.