June 19, 2017

Three of Us

There is an enormous difference between "two of us" and "three of us." When it comes to siblings and, in particular, to me and mine, the difference is painfully significant. I cannot overstate this.

October 1980
I love my sister with every ounce of my soul. She is the closest person to me in every way. That does not make it any less devastating nor easy to accept that it is just the two of us now. When we were three, we were a solid front: one more than our two parents or two grandparents. We were a team, united against any obstacles that tumbled into our path. We each had two siblings to confide in, to collaborate with, to seek advice from. Or just to laugh with over how ridiculous our lives and the world at large really are. There were three of us who grew up in our house, three of us who remembered the particulars of our unique upbringing, three of us who could help each other fill in the blanks of our childhood memories, divergent or not.

Now I find time spent with my sister to be more significant, more important, more special than ever. I mark her words carefully and put them in a special place. I try to imprint her voice, her smile, her eyes, her thoughts, in my memory more vigilantly. I could do so physically somehow, I would.

I do the same with my parents as they age, but without the benefit of seeing them through my brother's eyes as well, I feel as though something in my own perception is missing. I so long for his singular observations on our family dynamic. Yael and I had a long talk recently about our parents and what lies ahead for them and for us as their eventual caretakers. It was helpful and necessary, yet without Amir's input, our discussion feels incomplete. You know when you say, "Great talk. Next, let's discuss it with so-and-so..."? We can't discuss it with Amir regardless of how much we want to and need to. And without him, any decision or thought feels half-baked.

This does not get easier and I know it will get harder as time continues to take Amir further and further away from us. I feel similarly with regard to Jason--I continue to ponder every big decision with him in mind. I seek his voice in everything. He is with me every day, at the forefront, in small ways imperceptible to others but so meaningful to me and who we were together.

For the better part of my life, the two people closest to me absolutely were Yael and Amir. Then, Jason moved into my heart and became my partner. This exceptional trio made up the core of my world, my backbone, my home base. They were my touchstones. Now that two of them are gone, I struggle to move forward in spite of the need and desire to do so. The very core of my life has been shaken, stirred and rocked. I am changed irreversibly. And, though it may surprise people that I still grieve every day for these two remarkable humans, there will never come a day when I don't. Never.