Monday 29 February 2016

to remember..

I am revisiting an old post for this week's I Must Confess prompt because I don't understand how 10 years can pass and it still feel like yesterday. Today is a day that only happens once every 4 years, meaning that it didn't happen 10 years ago and it means this year we get an extra day, a day between remembering the day you left us, and the day we celebrate what would have been your birthday.....

I remember the day as if it was yesterday....

The day started like any other, It was a Monday, I got up I went to work, I was on autopilot like I am most days. I was teaching an early years class, year 1/2. For the most part they had no idea of the inner struggle I was having with even being there. My mind often wandering, wishing I was some place else. We had started the day just like any other following our usual routine, I had set them up for our Literacy Rotations and was just making a start when my mobile phone rang. I had forgotten to turn it on silent and by the time I got to it, it had rung out. Within minutes the Principal had entered my classroom, (this never happened so I knew something big was going on) I was pretty sure I knew what he was going to say before he even said it. "Miss Hooke, you need to leave now" I knew what he meant, I knew where I had to go. From memory I don't even think I said anything to the kids, I just grabbed my bag and left, leaving him to manage my class. 

I drove home and packed a bag, not really giving much thought to what was going in it. I was four hours from where I needed to be and I was wishing I had never left. I drove in a daze, trying hard to stay within the speed limit but desperately wishing I could get there quicker and begging her to hold on, I would be there soon. A phone call from your boyfriend along the way eased some of my anxiousness.

I flew into a car park and got up to the room as quickly as my shaking legs would take me, what would I be faced with when I walked through that door? I met Dad in the corridor and I saw the relief in his face when our eyes met. I was there... I went inside to see you sound asleep. Your pain was being managed and sleeping was a regular occurrence. When you did wake, and saw me there you looked slightly confused "What are you doing here?" you mumbled, It occurred to me that perhaps you didn't realise what was happening.... Trying to make light of the situation I returned with "ahh The kids were giving me the shits, so I walked out". 

Day turned into night and we never left your side, still wearing the same clothes the sun rose on a new day and you were the only one that really slept. Too scared of what might happen should we dare to close our eyes or walk away. More and more loved ones were arriving as well as medical staff fleeting in and out.

The sun set on another day and you were still holding on, your breathing was become difficult, often taking long deep breaths and occasionally gasping for air. No one really knowing what to do but be there. Now it was Tuesday night, the TV was on. We were all quite absorbed by Dancing with the Stars. Jennifer Hawkins was on dancing to James Blunt's song "You're Beautiful" and I sat beside you holding your hand singing (very badly) the words of the song in your ear. We knew it wouldn't be long, we knew we had to let you go, we knew you had fought as much as you could possibly fight. Fifteen months of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy had taken it's toll on you and it was time to tell you it was ok to go. I had been with you for many of your challenges, your surgery in Sydney, your first dose of Chemotherapy, countless specialist appointments. You'd fought a good fight, amazing us all with your strength and determination with even Dad asking how someone so little could take so much and fight so hard. 

Then it happened, at around ten to ten on Tuesday the 28th February 2006 you took your last breath surrounded by many family and close friends who could do no more but hold each other and cry. For reasons we still don't understand the date of your death as written by your doctor is the 1st of March..we could not accept that... that day was your birthday. You didn't quite make it. Over the following weeks I helped plan your funeral, travel with your boyfriend to your home to gather your things and sort through them, and try and work out what life without you was going to look like. 

When it came time for me to return to 'my life' 3 weeks later and four hours away, I cried the whole way 'home'. People tried to be helpful and say the right things but I have learnt there is nothing that can be said. People end up saying things that could not be further from the truth in an effort to make you feel better, "It'll get better/easier" being the one I hate the most. Hours turned into days, days into months and months into years but the pain has not eased. I think one of my friends summed it up nicely when she didn't try to cheer me up or sugar-coat the situation when she said... "It doesn't get easier you just move further away from the time when your life turned to shit".. 8 years on and I don't think that my life is shit but I do always think of how different it would be if you never left us. 

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today
- Kenny Chesney

You will always be my little sister, you will always be missed... you will always be Forever Young...
KLH 83-06 xx
Picture courtesy one of my other sisters, Linda
Here's hoping you are resting in peace by beautiful sister.

***This post is part of the following linkups*** 

I Must Confess


  1. It definitely doesn't get easier...I haven't lost anyone yet but I know a day will come. And having a younger sister of my own, I can imagine what it would be like to lose her. This is a beautiful post Zita... *Hugs*

  2. Anniversaries of death can be very hard no matter how much time has passed xx

  3. As your friends said ... you do get further away from it, I also think it isn't that is gets easier you just get used to it and also change how you look back at things, choosing the memories. I lost a sister when I was 7 and she is still there in memories, and sometimes certain times of year just get to you. My Mum is the same. You made me cry, lovely writing.

  4. That's a beautiful post. Time is a harsh healer. While we feel some less pain, we also feel such a missing of that loved one.

    1. Absolutely Claire.. thanks for commenting.

  5. I attended the funeral of an 11 year old girl this week, who tragically died in a car accident. The grief displayed by her Mother, Father and young siblings was so hard to watch. There is nothing you can say to a grieving person that is truly healing; only vaguely appropriate.

    1. oh how sad for you all.. thanks for stopping by..

  6. Oh Zita, I have goosebumps, I can't imagine how hard that must have, and still is, for you. I can't bare to think of myself in that same situation. Strength and hugs to you lovely xxx

  7. Oh, Zita. Much love to you. Grief is always there. But as someone reminded me when I suddenly lost my cousin in December, we grieve because we love. And that's what we cling to. The love x