Poems Can Save Lives

April 15, 2008
I was sitting at the computer staring at the screen at night, with my away message giving me the status of =[ (sad). Instant Messages popping up left and right, asking “What’s the matter?”, “Are you okay?”, “Where are you?” I never answered one of them. I was too focused on writing a poem for my sister. Usually poems come really quickly in my mind, but this one needed to be meaningful. Really meaningful, or I could have lost my sister for good.

I remember lying on my bed, overhearing a phone call no fourteen year old would want to hear. I got off my bed, and strolled down the hallway looking at my mother getting her purse and cell phone. Looking around the corner, I saw my sister crying and telling the person on the other line, she wanted to die. My head whipped to my mother and mouthed “What’s going on?” She simply just pointed to my sister, while my sister handed the phone to her. My sister was leaning against the counter crying. I’ve seen her cry many times before, but I just stood there. We never did have a sisterly-love relationship.
I guess it’s because I don’t understand her. Not sure how she can’t stand up for herself, how she can be depressed over little things, and not wanting to live. I was mad at her for a long time because she was always sick. She’s sick because she has bi polar. I hate bi polar. It took my sister-sister relationship away, and gave me a crazy mood swing older girl in the house. Not once did I say Hello to her in the morning, or ask her to bring my friends and me to the mall. I never looked at her like my sister because I wasn’t sure what kind of mood she would come back at me with. She would get mad, I would yell, she would cry and then my parents would give her sympathy, but reassuring me that I did the right thing. I’m not sure how it could be the right thing. It never made sense, and neither did she.
I didn’t move from the stairs for the longest time. I stared at my sister, covered with tears. I wanted to shake her, hit her or something to make her understand life is not so hard. When she glanced up at me, I had no expression on my face. She’s written about dying, jokingly (apparently not) talked about dying, but this time she was serious. I thought it was a swing, a mood swing. That’s what bi polar is anyway. I thought she would just swing right back to her happy self. Unfortunately I never saw that side of her often. She cried even harder when she saw me standing there. I was angry inside. I wanted to yell. I didn’t know who to yell at though. God maybe. He was making my sister sick and he was making her want to die
I started to step down the stairs slowly, looking at my mom then back at my sister who was crying an ocean by this time. I felt like I was standing in the middle of hell. For some reason, I looked back at my sister and again with no emotion, walked up to her and gave her a hug. I don’t know why I did it because I don’t remember one time I ever hugged her just to hug her. She exchanged my hug with a tighter grip, and whispered thank-you. I let go of my grip, looking away from her and walked upstairs.
As I was walking, I kept hearing the car doors opening and closing, watching the maroon van reversing into the street and driving away. I was on my bed until it was late at night, where the moon shone and the stars were blinking. I was wondering where my sister was, what she was doing, who was there, what they were saying to her, if she really was going to die, and if they would really let her, what would to happen. I hated so much I didn’t know anything. I didn’t care that we didn’t have a loving relationship. I liked knowing I had a sister to fight with, to yell at. What was I supposed to do without a sister? My brother is on the other side of the country. How am I supposed to survive on my own? I blamed her for me crying that night, for not being able to tighten her heart up and say it will all be ok. Even I couldn’t say it that night. I didn’t know if I closed my eyes, I would wake up with a sister alive.
I needed to write a poem for her, to make her understand what is going on in my head. I put my fingers on the black keyboard and I typed. I typed until I couldn’t type any longer. I centered it, put a title on top and printed it out. My mother had called and said she was coming home to pack some of my sister’s things that she was allowed to have. I didn’t want to go to the hospital, to the place where my sister needed to be watched over, every move she needed to make. I pressed the print button two times, because I know my mother liked to keep my poems, no matter how upsetting they may be.
I heard the van pull up, but I didn’t move out of my rolling chair. I was just waiting for my mother to walk up to the stairs so I could hand her a piece of paper that I hoped would change my sister’s state of mind and keeping going in this world. The front door opened and I heard foot steps up one flight of stairs, then another. My mother just said she was getting some things and then going back to the hospital. She would be back in about an hour. She started to walk away downstairs to my sister’s room, when I told her I wanted her to give my sister something I wrote. I told my mother she could read it, but only after my sister did. She agreed then went back to the hospital
In a few days my sister arrived back home. We had a moment of “Hello, how are you, I’m fine”, but nothing more. When my sister grabbed something to eat out of the fridge, and walked in the family room, my mother pulled me aside. She told me that my sister had cried for the longest time after reading my poem. My sister had decided that she didn’t want to die, and the main reason was because of me. I gave a short sigh and smiled.
No one would think simple rhyming words that form a story, could mean so much to someone, and even save their life. I saved my poem and it’s still on my computer. Every once in a while I read it and realize that just because of my poetry, I wake up each morning knowing my sister is soundly asleep downstairs. We still don’t have a sisterly-love relationship, and of course she still has bi polar, but once in a while we extend that “Hello, how are you, I’m fine” conversation into a little more. I will never delete that poem because I never want to forget something that saved my own sister.

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