In mid-April when I decided to go all in and officially start this blog, I was really excited. I was getting ready to leave for a short trip to Walt Disney World for Dapper Day and was going to make a post detailing my character-inspired outfit. I’d started drafting another about some of the basics of myopic macular degeneration, taking a look at Doctor Who in the MCU, and joined a few blogger-centric Facebook groups for encouragement and to ask questions.
On May 3rd, everything came to a halt. Not just my work on the blog. But my entire world.
“Oh, Theresa, honey. It’s the worst news.”
My dad and I are close and talk on the phone pretty frequently, especially during the Orioles season. But with his work schedule, it’s out of character for him to be call me after 9:00 on a weeknight. So when my phone rang at 9:20 PM, I had a feeling something was up. And as soon as I heard the desperation in his voice, I knew.
My big sister. The one I was so jealous of because she got to go to school two years before I did. The one who taught me how to speak Double B. The one who I would fight with every day growing up, but got along so well on hours-long car rides. The one who choreographed our Christmas Eve concerts for our parents and dance performances with our cousins on vacations to the Outer Banks. The one who brought my two amazing, smart, funny, driven nephews into the world. The one who died on May 3, 2018.
For the past two weeks, I’ve spent most of my days feeling like I’m walking through a fog. Although I suppose it’s more accurate to say walking through a mist to account for how much condensation is perpetually on my face. My heart breaks for myself. For my parents who had to bury their child. For my nephews who are at an age where I don’t know how much of my sister they’ll remember in detail. For the students she taught and inspired, and even more for those who would have passed through her classroom over the next 20 years. I had lost all my motivation to do anything, much less get a new project off the ground.
Earlier this week, I was finally starting to look at my social media again, although I couldn’t bring myself to participate aside from a few likes here and there. But on Tuesday night, as I was scrolling through Twitter, something caught my eye.
— Phil Collins (@PhilCollinsFeed) May 15, 2018
Y’all. Y’ALL. For years, Phil Collins has been on the top of my list of artists I’ve never seen live but wanted to so badly. And I know that might seem like an odd choice, but I’ve been lucky enough to go to a lot of shows. I’ve seen Prince. I’ve seen Paul McCartney (from the front row, no less – but that’s a story for another day). I’ve seen The Pogues. But Phil Collins has eluded me, and after he went into retirement in 2011, I figured he would forever remain on said list.
It’s amazing how one tweet can send a person from a place of being physically, mentally and emotionally drained to one of hope. Okay, my credit card helped too, along with a friend who is willing to be ridiculous and air drum with me. But Tuesday was the first day that my tears hadn’t been those of sorrow, but of joy. Of fulfilling a dream that I’d long-presumed unreachable.
I know that I have an endless road ahead of me trying to adjust to my new version of normal without my sister. It’s never going to be easy and I miss her so much it hurts. But I’ve been given a reminder that there are still things to be excited about. Things that make me feel like my old self.
And I have no doubts that even though it’ll permanently be a little broken, she’ll be in my heart. Always.