Letter to the Lost

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Hallo.

Yesterday was Spring Day. We all know that spring only really begins 21 September, but that’s okay because 1 September always held a kind of magic. I recall prancing around in a tutu and butterfly wings on a miserable 1 September long ago. It didn’t matter that it was cold… it was Spring Day!

These days I wear black on Spring Day. Because yesterday marked five years since we received the awful news. It was an uncharacteristically beautiful first of September, but the telephone’s ring was ominous. I remember how we all flocked to the telephone, as if pulled by an invisible thread. We knew. Mom even asked, “Who died?” Mom and I had both had a bad gut feeling for weeks.

But we could not have guessed just how bad it would be. I cannot forget the image of Mom crumpling down when told the news of her dear little sister. She ran. She didn’t know where to – I suppose she wanted to get as far away from the news as possible.

We spent a week with the two little girls who were left behind. Those beautiful daughters you had raised with such love.

I grew up in that week. I felt myself supporting your daughters, your sisters and your mother. I did not feel used. It was only right that I support them who had greater claim to the grief.

I participated in a national debate on the day we could view you. Or what was left of you. So I did not get to see you. And so it still has not sunk in. Five years later, I cannot understand. They are just words. Shot. Dead. I still wake up at night wondering when you will visit us again. And then I remember.

Your daughters are beautiful, but I know that you would rather be here. I don’t try to fool myself that the current stance of events would please you.

I miss you. We miss you so much.

I have learned a lot. When you passed on we didn’t even know that I would study medicine. But here I am. I see gunshot wounds. I see people live. I think sometimes it is pure luck – survival from a GSW, or not…

Yesterday was fittingly miserable. Today is beautiful. I know you would have loved this day. But then again, your artist’s soul saw beauty in everything. There was so much beauty and wonder in you. You were such an important part to our family. You still are.

Sometimes I feel you slipping away. It scares me – that we might forget your voice, your sweet laugh. I have a videoclip of you. One of those times where you think somebody is taking a photo and they accidentally have the setting on video. I love watching that clip. It reminds me that you were alive. That you were not just a dream.

People die every day. People lose loved ones to violence every day. We’re not unique in that, but it does not make it any easier.

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