My sister and me.

In October 1984, My Sister was a Dying Girl

Here’s another poem I wrote about my sister who died October 24, 1984. I wrote this 3 years ago (June 9, 2012) and I’d like to post it here for posterity.

Because my sister was sick
Because it was after school
Because I was playing in our neighbor’s front yard
Because I turned at the right time
I saw my father carry my sister

Sleeping?

Because I was still in our neighbor’s front yard
Because I played some more
Because I was four
Because I turned at the right time
I saw my father return home

Alone.


The poem above was born out of a single mental image I have of my father carrying my sister to (I assumed) the clinic of the company my mother was working for that time. I don’t remember much detail except that my sister’s eyes were closed and her head rested on my father’s left shoulder. I was playing in the yard of our neighbor directly in front of our house. That was the last time I saw my sister alive.

Other fleeting memories I have of my late sister include: her and me playing cards with our maternal grandmother; her making me orange juice; her and me escaping afternoon nap time through our room’s window; her and me punished for being caught escaping nap time; her making me eat whole fresh tomatoes; her making me eat whole fresh chili (not really bullying, I loved eating them, not that they didn’t make my lips burn, but kids will be kids) plucked from our neighbor’s garden. I imagine she helped my mother care for me when I was a toddler, but my memory doesn’t go that far back. I wish it did.

I was too young to understand what the lost of my sister meant that time. But from time to time I do miss her. And when I miss her too much, sometimes I cry my eyes out and sometimes I write poems like the one above and the one in my first post in Medium.


Months ago, I wrote a blog post about two books that I’ve read around that time. One of those books was “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews. I said that the book started well enough, but as I progressed through it I felt like I disconnected from the story. I did say maybe it’s because I was listening to the audio book version where I couldn’t slow down or speed up as I wish. I could crank up the playback speed, but then it would sound funny.

But I thought the movie adaptation, which according to the credits was also written by the novel’s author, was quite good. Perhaps even too good than I care to admit. At the end of the movie I stayed back to listen to the music playing with the credits while my brain processed what I just saw. I saw people streaming past me on both sides making their way out of the theater. But at the same time I didn’t see them. They were all a blur. I was defocused. My mind was somewhere else trying to process the movie I’ve just seen.


On a side note, minutes before entering the theater to see this movie, I finished reading “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven, another book about people dying or more accurately about two people who’ve attempted suicide.

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