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Reflections from Stephanie Lombardi


Some words, one year on...

Reflections from Stephanie Lombardi

They say grief is love with nowhere to go. I don’t know who said that. But when I first read it, I thought it to be truer than anything I had read. We live in such a grief illiterate society you see, so you grab onto anything that can unlock for others what you cannot say yourself.

I remember the days after you passed away, when I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered who I would be without you. I tried to find your face in mine, convincing myself that you were there, looking back at me, because I had never lived a day in my life without you, and I wasn’t sure how I would. Those days continue, nearly one year on. And I know that they will continue for the rest of my life.

Your bravery will forever remain unsurpassable. You never told us you were dying. How you carried that I will never know. But I remember visiting you one night in hospital, we were joking about something silly, and you said to me ‘you should do that - go out more often on Monday nights.’ I knew, right then, without you having to say it out loud, that you were dying. I remember that moment with such clarity. But as Buddha says, ‘the trouble is, you think you have time’. And I always carried hope for you. As your sister, I had to believe that there were better days to come.

You always had such warm hands. I miss holding them so much. You would always say, that for all the clothes I had, I never wore enough to keep my hands from freezing. But how could I tell you that my hands were frozen not from the cold, but from the fear of knowing that I was losing you, that our time together was numbered, but I just didn’t know by how much.

My grief for you, and all that has been lost, is like the ocean. It comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. My heart is full of so many unspoken words to you, for our deepest of feelings can never truly take flight. You were my sister, my second mother and my best friend. You wanted so many great things for me. Ours was an indescribable bond.

It was your birthday the other week. I wrote you a card and I wondered what I would have bought you. It was so hard for me to find words for you on that day, and I remembered the words that I wrote for you last year, when I thanked you for all that you had taught me about love. So this year I read other people’s words to you instead – that the best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. And that you can love someone so much, but you can never love people as much as you can miss them.

I search for you in everything that I do. I’m not the same person that I was – none of us are – without you in our lives. I will always find it so unfair that we couldn’t follow you, and that you couldn’t take us with you, to where you were going.

As I look in the mirror, one year on, and try to discover who I am today, I remember what we promised you - that in our grief, we would smile, open our eyes, love and go on.

One day, we will find happiness again, just as you wanted. And when I do, I know you will be there, holding my hand to keep it warm.

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