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Memories Of A Sister

I try to walk every day, whatever the weather. Today was no exception. I live in the wilds of Brittany so it’s rare to meet anyone on my ambulatory excursions. I love to walk. It’s a time to allow the thoughts to have free rein. While appreciating the late autumn foliage still clinging to the trees, the mind is elsewhere, allowing thoughts to drift into consciousness. Halfway through my walk, I found myself weeping. It was raining lightly, so no one would have noticed even if there had been anyone around, which there wasn’t.

I realized I had been thinking about my late sister, who was killed in 1994 by some guy driving a skip wagon. He ran over her with his truck while she was waiting on her bicycle at a red traffic light in London. She died instantly. I was never able to find out what happened, or what the consequences of it were. I was living and  working at the marina I managed, and had to take care of my young daughter. I couldn’t rush to London to sort things out and there was no one I could leave my child with. My mother was in a state of hysteria and my father was just not good at dealing with that kind of thing. It was my sister’s ex-husband, the father of her daughter whom she had just taken to school that day, who went to fix everything and take care of the thirteen-year-old girl.

I  drove my parents and daughter to her funeral. My mother, always mentally fragile, was beside herself, and as a fanatical Christian, was totally disgusted because my sister had opted in her will for a Spiritualist funeral service. My mother was not slow to show her feelings and chastised Michael, my sister’s ex, for allowing such ‘evil  rites’ to take place.

Michael was a very nice guy, but my mother saw to it that he was never welcome at my parents’ house after that. He went back to his native Scotland, taking his daughter (my niece) with him. I never saw either of them again and since no one in the family had an address for them, I was never able to make contact.

I never mourned my mother. I had no feelings left for her. Whatever she may have thought of Michael, she no reason to abandon her grand-daughter. I didn’t go to her funeral. She died at the age of ninety, eighteen years after my sister’s passing.  The few times I’d received a letter from her, the envelope and the paper inside were completely covered with Bible verses and Christian hymn texts. I don’t know what the mailman must have thought.

So it all ended there.  Except for the memories. They don’t go away.

Which is why today, twenty-eight years later, I found myself weeping in the rain.

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