“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Getting Older

Fair warning:  This is not a happy post.  Proceed at your own risk.

The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.  
-Cali Rae Turner

Getting Older.  It's something we all do.  We have a birthday every year, we celebrate what our lives have brought that year.  Typically, we celebrate with family.
My sister, Shana, and I.  Laughing.
Today, I should be celebrating with my sister Shana.  Today, I should tease her because she is turning 29.  I should be able to tease her about getting old and in one more year, she'll be the dreaded 30.  Because we all know, she would have teased me about how old I was when I turned 30.
And, she would say, "And yet, I'm still younger than you!"
Instead, I spent last night freaking out about getting a run in today despite the weather forecast, because I know I won't make it through the day without that run.  Instead, I'm wishing I'd HAD those extra ten years of teasing from my sister.  (Or am I missing the extra ten years I should have been teasing her?).
I didn't always tease her.  I was actually quite protective of her.
It's sad for me to think that I have a lot of really close friends now that never even met my sister.  They never got to be on the receiving end of one of her well timed sarcastic remarks.  They never got to be the victims of the Mandy-Shana spades duo.  They never got to sit quietly in the car afraid to move while I threatened to throw my sister out for badmouthing my favorite Supreme Court Justice.

In a month, I'll run my first marathon.  My sister won't be the obnoxious short girl in the feather boa, tutu and cowbells cheering like a maniac as I come around a corner.  But, she would have been.  
Shana wearing ALL her Christmas Gifts one year.
Unfortunately, nine and half years ago, my sister Shana chose to take her own life at the age of 19.  It's still the worst day of my life.  I miss her every single day.  These days, most of the days, it's a simple sort of missing:  "Shana would've loved this", or "Shana would've hated that."

Today, not so much.  Today, it's "Avery would've loved her crazy Aunt Shana".
It's "Shana should have thanked me in an academy award speech by now".   All of them thought with copious amounts of tears.  It's not fair that Avery has to grow up without all the crazy experiences and opinions Shana would have exposed her to.  It's not fair that I don't have my sister to call when I've just had a bad day and need someone to snap me out of it.

I hate knowing that I am a very different person today than I was the last time I spoke with my sister.  Would she even recognize the woman I've become?

Happy Birthday Little Sister.  I love you so much.  And my heart breaks whenever I focus on the fact that you simply aren't here.
Shana and I, Summer 1996.
There is no substitute for the comfort supplied by the utterly taken-for-granted relationship.

- Iris Murdoch 


  1. This is a beautiful post, Mandy. I'll be thinking of you today.

  2. Thanks for the warning Mandy...despite it, I'm tearing up and sniffling. I didn't realize you had a sister. She is beautiful, just like her big sis. Hugs to you!

  3. The memories are wonderful! I will be sending good gibes your way today...

  4. Beautiful post for Shana. She would have been proud of her big sister and who you've become. Sending hugs your way today.

  5. Wish I could have met her. So glad we were able to run together. Beautiful post.

  6. Mandy, what a sweet post. I remember Shana from your wedding, she was such a beautiful girl. I know she is so proud of you and of who you are today. Hang in there, friend.

  7. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure she is looking down on you so proud of her big sis:)

  8. I hope you find comfort in knowing so many friends (real&blogger) are sending you good thoughts today and always.

  9. I'm so sorry for this loss, Mandy. She sounds like fabulous fun person. It sounds like you got your run--I hope it was therapeutic.

  10. That was beautiful and so sad. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  11. Such a beautiful but sad post Mandy. My heart breaks reading it, knowing how much love I have for my own sister, I can't imagine her not being there. Thinking of you and sending hugs :)

  12. I am so sorry for your loss, and this is a beautiful tribute to your sister. God bless & comfort you today Mandy. We love you!

  13. I'll bet you were a wonderful sister. What a beautiful tribute here...my heart and prayers go out to you and our family.

  14. I'm so late to comment on this, but just wanted to say what a heart breaking post... suicide is so hard to understand. Thinking of you!

  15. OMG I am in tears. Heartbreaking. I'm so sorry Mandy. I can't even imagine. Big, big hugs to you and yours.

  16. Mandy, I'm a little late to respond...but your sis would be PROUD of the women you've become I have no doubts! Hugs to you!


Comments pretty much make my day - so thank you for yours!