Anna and I grew very close in the last few years. I would say we were always close but that’s a lie. We have always been sisters and had each other’s backs, but we fought a lot during our high school years.
I remember one particular fight during my sophmore year of college and Anna’s freshman year. It was about JC. He and Anna had just started dating and I had a chip on my shoulder about him (background on that: he had given Anna flowers while she was, for all my knowledge, dating her boyfriend at that time. I did not like this move one bit. I later learned [like years later] that Anna and her boyfriend at the time were on a break). So Anna and JC were hanging out in the dining room at my parent’s house. Anna asked me about her and JC and I said (mostly joking, but really not) that JC was not on my A list. He wasn’t on my B or C list either. Anna went OFF (she was obviously madly in love). She let me know very plainly that she did NOT care what I thought of JC and that I better get on board because he was here to stay.
Fast forward two years: Anna and JC come out to visit us in Chicago. It was cold and gross and we still had a good time. If I had to pinpoint the point where Anna and I started getting close again, this would be it. Like all siblings, we needed our own space to become our own people but we were both finally at a place where we wanted to be friends again.
Fast forward three more years: Anna spent a lot of time with me, Matt, and the boys this last year. JC was working overnights and we lived close by. Anna and I had a lot of special conversations. There is one I remember very clearly today (and every day since her death). Anna told me that I needed to take care of JC if she died. Anna did not want JC to be left alone and she wanted to make sure someone she trusted had an eye on him. I told her of course I would take care of him. Then I made some light-hearted commented to move the situation on. It wasn’t that I didn’t take her seriously. As I said, we had many serious conversations and I knew how worried, anxious, and scared Anna was the last few months of her life. I just didn’t want her to fixate on her death. She knew that I would take care of JC.
And I take that promise seriously.
The only problem is, I am not Anna. There is no one in the world who can take care of JC like Anna. They really completed each other. I feel so inadequate. And especially today. Today is JC’s birthday. He is 23. Anna would make this day so special for him. There would be little notes every where and a dinner planned. Possibly drink with some friends. It would be perfect. And JC has a plan for today. He says it is what he wants to do, but I feel like I am failing Anna today. I am not her and I cannot give JC the kind of birthday Anna could.
I miss you every day Anna. How could I not? But today especially, I wish you were here. I love you always.