Saturday, September 13, 1997 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   And I know you're shining, down on me from heaven, like so many friends we've lost along the way, and I know eventually we'll be together ... One Sweet Day."

I was exhausted when I returned home from working at the car wash all day, dreading that I had to be to work again in an hour. I had spent the day having water fights, scrubbing cars and having a blast with my friends. My biggest worry was the new sunburn I had obtained that day and the dirt which was permanently embedded in my hair. Little did I know that my entire life was about to turn upside clown.

I was up in my room when my step-mom came to tell me my little sister, Stacey, had fallen out of a combine and had been rushed to the hospital. I thought it was just another minor injury, a common occurrence in my family. I called work off to babysit my little sisters.

All of a sudden, people started to show up; some friends of the family took my sisters home with them and one couple stayed home with me. The fact that this was a bigger deal than I thought was pretty obvious, but people left me in this fantasy world where everything was going to be okay. I overheard the couple say that my sister's heart had stopped three times on the way to the hospital. The reality hit me hard - the reality that my little sister might never come back to me.

I automatically called my best friend to come be with me. I had gone from expecting nothing to expecting the worst, and I needed her to support me, no matter what the outcome. When she got there, we all just sat waiting for the phone call. The seconds dragged like hours and nobody talked. I just cried and thought that this couldn't happen, it wouldn't happen. The phone finally rang and I answered, praying for a miracle.

"Hello," I said hopefully, holding it in trembling hands.

"Manda?" was all my dad's voice said on the other line.


"It's bad."

"How bad?" No, no, please don't tell me this.

"Real bad," I could hear him start to cry on the other end, "she's dead."

All I could do was cry uncontrollably. Someone took the phone from me, and I just wanted to crawl into bed and never come out again. I sat on the couch sobbing like I have never sobbed before. It was the kind of sound that scared even me; a part of me died when my dad said those words. I cried when I thought of the injustice of my beautiful eleven-year-old sister being taken away from us; I cried when I thought of how unfair it was for my family to lose a sister and a mother only a few years before. I cried when I thought of all the things Stacey would never get to do.

Facing my other little sisters and telling my older sister was not a task I would ever do again. The questions they wanted me to answer and the pain I saw in their tears ripped me apart. I wanted to be strong for them, as well as my parents, but I couldn't. I had reached the end of what I could handle, and for once in my life, I felt totally alone. The grief in my father's eyes was a look that brought the pain to anyone who saw him. We had all lost someone very important to us that Saturday afternoon.

I clung to all of my friends. I felt like, without them, I wouldn't make it through this. I was killing myself with the guilt of not being there for Stacey or loving her like a big sister should. I remember the last time I saw her. She was walking down the hall after school on Friday. She was so excited to be sleeping over at her friend's house. She said good-bye to me and I can't remember if I said good-bye back.

I kept myself busy with my friends and finding music for the funeral. The times when I was actually alone were unbearable. It gave me time to think of regrets and to miss her more. I looked to God and begged him for comfort ... for something to hold me up.

The funeral was like a major reality check. Actually seeing Stacey laying in a casket was too much. Still, I pretended it wasn't until they closed the casket. I wanted to scream "No!! I'm not ready never to see my little sister again. I want to braid her beautiful blond hair, look into her blue eyes, hold her and tell her how much I love her." I wanted to take her place. I had done all I needed to do and I didn't want to continue living this neverending grief process with which I was familiar.

As we stood at the cemetery, my dad had to hold me up; I kept a tight grip on his arm, because if I didn't I knew I couldn't stand. The preacher said that Stacey was in heaven now and that her spirit would always be with us. At that moment a gust of wind blew the air, and then I knew that this is what Stacey needed. She is now happy and complete.

It is still hard for me to deal with my sorrow and guilt. On that beautiful September day my little sister was given her wings; she flew to heaven to sit on my mom's lap. That is the most beautiful picture I have in my mind and in my heart, and I know that someday I and the rest of my family, will be there to complete that picture. c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 10:35 am
i love this so much!
FanficFanatic said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 3:14 pm
Wow, I'm so sorry. I actually found this because I was searching my birthday online...It's weird to hear about someone that passed away teh day I was born...
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