Look What You’ve Done

by Sasha R. M. Kian My sisters and I were very close. This is what I always believed. Most people who knew us then would always comment how close we were, how we never seemed to fight, how we always shared. This ranged from our uncles, family friends, teachers, and our librarian. To them, my sisters and I were always protecting each other, always remembering to save an extra cookie for each other; always remembering to save the book we knew the other would like, always watching out for each other, etc. Of course, we had our share of squabbles. There were times we fought, ignored each other or yelled at each other. But for the most part, we got along. We shared clothes, make-up, and inside jokes. As we grew up, and moved away from our parents' home, we still talked, nearly daily, through emails or on our cell phones (which were just beginning to become popular). We also made sure that we met every Friday night for "Sisters’ Night." These nights usually consisted of meeting somewhere for dinner, or going out to the movies, or going over to each other’s apartments and having a "sleepover". I remember us going to PF Chang’s and, when the waiter approached, we each ordered a pot of tea - all in different tea flavors - without prior discussion. We all just knew we'd share cups of tea with each other and we all ordered a different flavor. We'd play Uno at my apartment - and, if our boyfriends were around, my sisters and I would "secretly" help each other out, passing cards underneath the table to one sister, to get her out of a jam. We'd sometimes go play basketball in the park. We'd split into teams - 2 sisters against the other 2 - but if one sister made a basket, we'd cheer and clap, even if that sister was on the opposing team. I was a college student, so it became easy for me to pick up my youngest sister from her high school, and I'd drive her wherever she was going. We loved a lot of the same music and would have discussions comparing Fiona Apple's albums, or wondering if Elton John's Yellow Brick Road was the title of the album as well as the song. We'd joke about Peter Frampton's unsuccessful comebacks, or whether we should drive all the way to Royal Palm Beach to see Tori Amos in concert on a school night (we did). There was a song, by the rock band, Jet, that we both heard for the first time, together, in my car, during one of our drives. We both loved it immediately but didn't know the title or even the singer. It took us awhile to find it out. She found it out first and she called me right away, full of excitement at being the first to find it - usually, I was the know-it-all. This time, she was first and she was thrilled about it. The last weekend I saw my sister, we'd all gone out for our usual Friday night Girl's Night. We decided to go to our other sister's apartment and help her decorate her Christmas tree. We watched "Anchorman," ate a dinner, munched on cookies and decorated the tree. We slept over and the next morning, made brunch together and talked about the future; about what life would be like when we were “grown up”. We were happy. Sunday, I went over to my dad's house, where she was living, and helped her and my dad put up their Christmas tree. The radio was playing Christmas songs. She was eating some yogurt and she said to me, "Sometimes, I wish I had a best friend." I replied, "You have something even better than that. You have sisters." And she rolled her eyes at me. I remember feeling a little hurt that she was so dismissive of our relationship, but didn't think anything further of it. Two days later, she and I chatted about how excited she was about Christmas, her favorite holiday; how her friends were coming down from college for winter break and the plans they had. The next day, she was dead. There was no note. Nothing. No "warning signs." And I felt like my whole life had been a lie. I wanted to tell people, "My sisters and I were so close" but it seemed like we weren't close enough. I felt like I had been made a fool. I had been naive. When you lose your loved one to suicide, you go back and you replay every interaction. You wonder if you missed something. You wonder how you could miss something this big. You wonder if you were to blame. Maybe you were too close to see it. Maybe you weren't close enough. Here is what I have learned in the years following my sister's death: 1. You can never 100% know what is in a person's heart or a person's head. No matter how close you are. 2. It's not your fault. 3. You loved that person to the best of your ability. Their decision to leave you had nothing to do with how you loved them. 4. It's okay to not know all the answers. 5. There is very little in life that we have control over. 6. It's not your fault. 7. You were not a fool. You were not an idiot. 8. You didn't miss anything. You didn't know and couldn't know. 9. It's not your fault. 10. You only had the tools you had at that time. You have different tools now. It's not your fault; I said it more than once and you need to keep saying it to yourself. There are days when I know this to be true. And there are moments, here and there, where I have to remind myself. Oh, and that Jet song, you can hear that here. It will forever remind me of her exhilaration of sharing a new song with her sister. Because, my sister and I – we were close.

1 Comment

  1. Rene Barrett says: Reply

    Thank you for your poignant story, Sasha. It’s good to see that you have learned since your sister’s death, that it was not your fault. Having lost my sister, and having gone and sometimes continue to go through the “wouda coulda’s”, even after many years, you have reminded me of what I know intellectually but which sometimes conflicts with what I feel. So thanks for the reinforcement and reminder.

    I think Suidie would be very proud of you and very much want you to live a fulfilled life. May she be remembered for the love she gave to her sisters.

Leave a Reply