by Scott Daniel
Julie was my sister and only sibling. It’s difficult to describe what its like to grow up with a sibling and then find yourself an only child. There are things that only a sibling understands. They were there with you when it happened and understand you in ways that no one else, including your wife, children and friends cannot. When Julie died, my connection to the rest of the world broke just a little bit.
And just as Julie understood me, I knew her in ways that other’s didn’t. This isn’t to say that she shared all her secrets with me. There are many things I learned about her life after her death. It is more a of a feeling about the world that comes from a shared experience early in our lives. It’s a look shared when we heard a bit of family news or a smile or a frown at just the right moment.
Julie was where with me in the back seat of our VW travelling across the US from Minnesota to start our lives in California. She was there when we opened presents on Christmas and ended up playing with the packing boxes instead of the presents. When I was 15 and she was 13, she was there when my mother measured us and she equaled me in height. She was there when my parents split up and a few years later when our parents remarried.
Julie struggled with the world in way that only a few of us understood. She raged and stomped at injustice in any form whether it was perpetrated against her or anyone else. As a young person, a good deal of her anger was misdirected and she suffered for it. Some of us, particularly our parents, suffered with her. Her life did not proceed in a straight line. But in the years before her death she found the love of her life, found a career, and found happiness. She seemed to find peace.
My cousin’s “adopted” me just after Julie’s death. They are son’s of my mother’s identical twin so we are more than just a little related. They have been my brothers now for almost as long as Julie was my sister. It isn’t a replacement for Julie, but we are creating a new set of shared memories, good and bad like all good siblings, that help connect me to the world.
by Scott Daniel