Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 / 9:44 a.m.

~It Was 40 Years Ago Today~

I remember there was going to be an Open House at my school, and that was my focus. I wanted not only my mother to attend, but my sister and my brother, as it was important to me. There was excitement, for me. I remember a meal, must have been dinner, in the kitchen... with all four of us, and discussion, maybe about Nixon being in town, maybe someone shaking his hand, my brother?

And they couldn't come to the Open House, they were older, they had more important things to do, and I was disappointed, I remember.

Did my mother and I go by ourselves? Did the Open House figure into our lives that night? Did we come home, and did we watch television that night, and did I go to bed, was it on the top bunk of my bunk beds which I liked so much, and did I go to sleep peacefully and restfully, looking forward to the next day at school, Friday at school, looking forward to spending the night with a school friend, at her home? Is that how it happened?

I don't remember waking in the night, I don't remember my brother coming home with blood on his clothing. I don't remember knowing anything out of the ordinary was happening... until Friday after school.

The friend and I went to her home, there was excitement, a square dance at school that night, and we loved those. We went walking in the nearby cemetery, and it was Friday the 13th. I remarked that it was lucky no one had died that day, no one we knew, though I told her about the friend of my sister's who had died on his motorcycle and was now buried somewhere therein, and could we find his grave, maybe? He was cute, I thought, with very long hair, and I liked long hair on boys.

We liked boys, and the square dances were a way to dance with the boys, in a group setting, and it was okay, and fun, and accepted. The square dance was canceled, we found out when we returned. So much disappointment, now what would we do?

I cannot remember.

Saturday morning they took me home, they drove me home, and I remember seeing my mother with dark glasses on, and she was very upset. Was my father there too? Were there flowers yet, smelling up the entire apartment? Not yet, not that early.

My mother had had "blood poisoning" before, and I remember her showing me a red line which went up her arm, saying if it reached a certain point, a certain high mark, there would be trouble, or did my brother tell me that to upset me? I thought it had reached that mark, I thought she was dying, when she pulled me into her room and we sat on her bed together, close together, I thought she was going to tell me she was dying.

She told me my sister was dead.

I don't remember her words, I don't really remember much, but the overall atmosphere of sheer dread and doom and tragedy and nothing ever being the same again, or life changing for everyone in the world that day, of our world being forever altered, and not knowing how to do anything, but just keep going, keep living, not feeling much, just matter of factly quickly absorbing this earth shattering news about which I could do nothing.

Eleven years old, and I could do nothing. I could only hear it and listen to it, and maybe try to figure it out, but step away from it, but want to know everything about it. And did she say my sister was in heaven now? Did she say that? That we would not see her again, until we went to heaven? I don't know, I can't remember, that part is gone. As was my brother.

A swirl of activities followed, and people came and went, and flowers arrived, and the scent was overpowering, and my mother was joined by my father, who also wore dark glasses, and this was an indication their eyes were not to be seen, but I don't remember anyone openly crying, no sobbing, no sniffles, just dark glasses, and the stench of floral arrangements purchased by well meaning strangers, and acquaintances, and there may have been food delivered too.

There was media attention, and I saw a small bit of it on the local news on television, which felt odd and surreal, and I wanted to know details, and see her, I wanted to go to the coroner's office and see her, I felt I should go, and suddenly I aged at least twenty years and was no child at all, but a homicide investigator, and a criminal lawyer, and a counselor, and the child in me was gone forever.

Life went on, in slow motion, in fast motion, school, growing, puberty, life, love, happiness, joy, sorrow, loss, life, it keeps going, life just keeps on going.

But today it is forty years since the day my sister was murdered, and it seems a lifetime ago, a lifetime of life going on, and continuing, and events unfolding, and life ebbing and flowing as it does, as it makes it its habit to do. Forty years ago today, right now, as I write this, I had a sister, five years older than myself, a sixteen year old sister, and I saw her and talked to her, and then two days later she was nowhere. She was gone. That night forty years ago she was gone.

I hope it wasn't painful. I hope she left quickly and without fear. I hope she was caught off guard, and the surprise didn't have time to register on her face. I hope it happened from behind. And I hope the person who caused it is sorry, and is remembering that day, today, if she is still alive. She may be gone too, and I would never know. So much will never be known, but it is enough on this day to remember what is. I had her, we all had her here in our lives, she was here, she was alive, sixteen years, and then she was no longer.

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It Was 40 Years Ago Today - 9:44 a.m. , Friday, Oct. 12, 2012

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