When I was little I was positive I was going to die young.
I don’t know what it was, I just knew. I would think about the future. The year 2000 seemed so epic. I used to think about how old I would be in the year 2000. I remember thinking to myself, “You’ll be 19. But you won’t live that long”.
I wasn’t trying to be morbid. I didn’t want to die. But I really believed it to be true. I could feel it in my bones. I always felt a little psychic. I used to know when people had died before anyone told me. I always got a feeling about things and they usually were true. So I didn’t question myself for feeling this way.
But it made me feel disconnected from the world. I never put too much stock in anything. I wasn’t part of this planet. I was in transition, I wouldn’t be here long.
And then when I was 12 my sister died. And I was so sure someone had got it wrong. They had made a mistake. It was supposed to be me. I was supposed to be gone. They would mourn me. But then they would move on with their lives and carry on. I was always ok with this. I had spent 12 years becoming ok with this.
I was shellshocked. I couldn’t handle the pain of losing someone so important while also dealing with the fact that I was indeed tethered to this earth. All of a sudden I had to live. I couldn’t afford to think otherwise, I couldn’t do that to my parents. I had to live and it was the last thing I wanted to do at the time. I hadn’t thought about the future because I hadn’t seen myself in it. Now I was going to have to live it, without her.
I used to make my mom throw me these big birthday parties. I’d invite all of my friends to a pizza place and make really awesome treat bags. My mom would give us all endless quarters so we could play all the games we want. I always wanted these parties but they weren’t really to celebrate myself. I just wanted to have fun and I wanted people to have fun.
My sister’s birthday was 6 days after mine and she always did something low key. We’d have cake at home. I always wondered why she never wanted to do anything. I always wondered if I was stealing her thunder, making our mom spend all her money on my party. But she never said anything, she never complained. She just always let me plan my big event.
So when I turned 19 in the year 2000 I realized it was the age my sister didn’t get to turn. She would have been 19 in 1994 but she died a month before. It was the age and year that I swore I would never get to and there I was. I was officially older than my sister and it felt weird and wrong. So I started celebrating. I started celebrating being alive.
I can’t say I was always happy to be alive all those days since 19. Sometimes its hard. There’s days I’m not appreciative. There’s days I get sad and I get down. There’s still days I look at my life and I’m so sure the universe made a mistake and took the wrong person. But on this day I still celebrate. I do all of the of the things I love to do and try to have the best time ever. I appreciate life and am thankful for all the days when I couldn’t find a reason to be thankful. I celebrate all these days I never thought I’d have. Because good or bad they’re beautiful. Some days its hard to see that. But today is the one day I make it not hard. I force myself to see it, the beauty of being alive. I don’t think about where I’ve been or where I’m at, what I haven’t done or what I haven’t achieved. I just focus on the fact that I made it to this day. That I must have done something right because I have people who love me and want to celebrate with me.
And I celebrate for her. For all of these birthdays she didn’t get to celebrate. All of these years that I’m somehow older than her. I think she liked to watch me celebrate. All those years with my big parties, she was always there celebrating with me. She asked for me, she wanted a sibling. I was born 6 days before her birthday and I came home from the hospital on her birthday. It was like I was her present. I exist because she wanted me. So I try not to let her down.