She is gone two years today.
They never told us she was sick. My father, her own brother, only knew a week before.
He lost so much time. We lost so much time.
Can I say for certain I would have flown home to see her, just once, before she left? Not truly. Not necessarily, but I would have loved the chance to try.
How is it that family pulls together at times of hurt, and pulls apart over the years? In such a way - such a way that we know of nothing else. No other way to function.
This person. My father's sister. We lost four years together over our lives. All because of stupidity (it's easy for me to say it was hers, he is MY father, after all). My grandmother was sick and she never came. She took my cousins away from us. For so long. Too long.
I can still remember the day, so many years ago, we saw them again for the first time. At sixteen years old I knew how relevant it was. How incredibly important that they were there. We were a family again.
Friends may come and go from our lives, but families, families are supposed to be forever - right? Mine was. Mine is. Mine should be.
We lost my grandmother. By then we had reconnected. She, her children, a part of our lives again.
My cousin lost her husband. A loss felt to the core. We wouldn't have been anywhere else.
Then she got sick. Years later. So much time gone by. A different version of the beast. She beat it. My father, my mother. Stood strong. Stayed by her. Sat at the hospital with her children as she made her way through. And she did.
My mom got sick. Again, the beast. She supported. She loved. She made my mother laugh with her crazy ways.
Somewhere along the way one of my cousins got married. On one of the holiest days of the year. We missed it. We shut doors. We lost what we had gotten back. We - I - have yet to forgive.
And then we lost my aunt. Taken away too young. Too soon. And too quickly. I try to forgive them for withholding this hurt. For keeping my father away from her as long as they did. But it's not easy. It's not easy to just let it go.
As today I know when he looks at the calendar he feels the sting. He knows she is gone. He knows how much time he lost out on. How is that fair? It's not - truly. But we forgive. We move on. We let go. We know that there is so little time, that to hold a grudge, even one we find to be worthy, is not worth it after all.
For time flies by. So quickly. We lose what we have in an instant. And then we're left with so little. The pain. The memories. The hurt. If we don't let that go where does that leave us?
I miss you, Tanta. I forgive you for leaving us. Perhaps that is not fair, not even something I am permitted to say. And yet - I do. Because I have to find a way to let go. Be at peace with my loss. And love her, still.