Welp, I’ve been needing to write about this and dutifully avoiding it. I feel guilty and shitty. And I’m very very good at denial. I want to talk about my sister and her memorial service and some other things Kaity related, but…..
So I’ll start small.
My little sister was a quiet force of energy. She never made much noise, even when she was very young and talkative. But she was always……I don’t even know what word to use. There are a few that would work but don’t quite cover it. Strong. Stubborn. She didn’t take up much space really but seemed to have a large presence, maybe especially since she always seemed so quiet to me.
When she was little she was so ungraceful. Tripped over her own feet all the time. And she wanted to be a ballerina-mermaid-princess. I was kind of the same way, clumsy and hopeful with my imagination.
Once, she was bored and maybe peeved about being bored and that the neighbors weren’t home to play, so she jammed a bunch of twigs in the locks on their door and Mrs. Neighbor couldn’t get in the house. Man that lady was pissed. Her ice cream was melting. I remember getting home from the beach after spending the whole day there and sand falling out of her butt crack as she ran naked through the house. When she was really small, about three, she was sitting on the couch in front of the turned off tv, sucking her finger and twisting her blanket when my step-mom came in and asked what she was doing and Kaity said “watching tv” like “duh mom, can’t you see?”
Kaity was a funny and sweet and affectionate little girl. She could also be one hell of a pissed off cat too, when provoked, actually hissing like a cat when mad. She sucked her finger, had a blankie and could make friends with any fucking animal anywhere. She was brave and smart. She had more compassion than most people I know. Many of these qualities remained as she grew up and she got some new ones, darker ones too. She became angry. Like me. Depressed, like I was (and still can be). Self destructive… But she was always funny and smart, compassionate, clumsy and imaginative, creative. I hope I am those things too. On good days I am.
I wasn’t able to always be there as her big sister. Not only over a thousand miles separated us but the aforementioned depression, anger and self destructiveness. Being quite a bit older I entered into that earlier than she did and was still there when she started that phase of life. I finally was able to ‘get better’ but by then all that shit had stacked up between us and made the kind of sisterly closeness I had always wanted with her difficult, and ultimately impossible.
The last time I saw her she was in jail. I was in Oregon for my annual trip there and made the appointment to visit her. We only got a half an hour with a thick bulletproof window between us and a gross, shitty phone to talk on. There wasn’t even seating; standing room only, heh. When she came into that little visiting plexiglas cubicle we both cried, couldn’t help it. I wasn’t mad at her or even disappointed, just sad that’s where she was. She said that she hadn’t even cried about any of it; not till she saw me. And she had plenty to cry about. But, also, like me, she’d bellyache about all the things that weren’t really worth bellyaching over and just stuff and deny the big shit, that shit that really hurts us.
We were estranged when she died I guess. I didn’t know it till too late though. She’d been slowly and quietly cutting me out. She was angry at me. I think I know why and what was under it too, but knowing that doesn’t offer solace of any kind. I had been expecting the call about her death for a while too, but that didn’t make it any less shocking, painful or acceptable. “At least she’s at peace now’ asas ma people told me. “She isn’t suffering any more.” I even told myself this trite shit. It didn’t make any of it more palatable. Nothing about that was ok. It was what it was though, unchangeable, unfixable. And the only thing I could really do was accept it. I mean, what the hell else could I do? I had years of guilt and regret, my own feelings of hurt and resentment, causing hurt and resentment, feeling like a failure, a horrible big sister…the list could go on. And you know, all that shit just makes grief that much harder to bear. Ugh, it makes it so heavy, so easy to despair. Her dying changed me. All those things and feelings and reasons and bullshit really changed me.
God, is there a point to all this painful rambling? Eh, it’s cathartic for one. Two I’m able to tell some things I’ve yet been able to tell. I get to tell you about her, what she was like, some of the good of her. It’s easy to think about that bad shit. The scary, hurtful and horrible shit.
So the good stuff….there is a lot but I keep it kind of secret for some reason. So all y’all should know that it wasn’t all bad and horrible. A lot of it was. Most of it in fact, and how she died, that she died, on top of all that just makes everything so much worse. But jesus guys, she wanted to be a fucking ballerina-mermaid-princess! She had a beautiful singing voice. She was magic when it came to animals. She was creative and had a wild imagination. She loved to read and was so fucking smart. And funny. She liked fairies and dragons, and science fiction. She was tough and strong and brave. She loved music and turned me onto some pretty good shit. She was so caring and wanted to help people. And I miss her and wish I could have another chance to be her big sister.
I hope I haven’t made this too dreary and long. I wanted to also talk about some funny shit. Like her memorial service. Jesus fucking Christ that was something to behold. Some of her friends planned it. Plane tickets for my summer trip out there had already been purchased when she died so they all so very kindly waited to hold the service till I got out there. They took care of all those details like where, who knows, who is bringing what food, eulogies etc. And they were mostly all junkies or had some other kinds of really weird shit going on. So just imagine, if you can, a memorial service for a weirdo junkie planned by junkies and weirdos. And before you get uptight about junkies and weirdos you have to know that I was a junkie and still am a weirdo so chill the fuck out if you’re upset at my description. It was funny.
Well, my part was to bring her ashes. I had already picked them up the day after I got in. (The trip there was a fucking nightmare…I ended up sitting in the Portland airport on my luggage crying and eating day old donuts in front of the Enterprise car rental desk, stranded for about four hours till someone could come pick me up.) My friend Lisa drove down from Washington to be with me that day and spend some time with me. Good thing too, I needed the sane support and a witness to the shenanigans.
So the memorial was held in a really nice park in Salem, by the riverfront. It was summer so it was nice and bright but there was a high breeze that day; I had my shades on and a sweater just in case the air got cooler. They picked a nice spot, it was a small amphitheater type place, with plenty of room. We walked up with my brother, sister-in-law and the kids and it looked like we were going to a birthday party. There was a nice big table with a decent spread of snack food, small sandwiches and a store bought cake; balloons tied to the railing looking out over the river and a lot of people milling around. There were also some people near the railing holding balloons they had written on. When we were close enough to see and hear what was going on was when the strange really started. Those holding the balloons had written messages to or about Kaity on them and then released them to the sky, exclaiming “there she goes!” and “Bye Kaity! We love you!” One got caught in a tree and someone said “oh no, she’s stuck in the tree”.
I didn’t really know most of the people there so I was just checking it out and looking for the ones I did know when one gal comes up to me. Turns out it was one of the women that ‘found’ her (found is questionable because some of us think she already knew she was there and dead and just came back later to ‘find’ her). We talked briefly, I can’t even remember what we said to be honest. Then she looks at me very seriously and says “CAN I SEE YOUR EYES?” So I lift my shades and let her see and she was visibly disappointed. I felt so weird and confused about it and she just mumbled something about me maybe having Kaity’s eyes. (Kaity had big dark brown eyes and mine are blue.) And then she awkwardly asks “is it really ok to have some of her ashes?” Whooops.
I HAD ONE JOB
Welp, I said “Oh shit! I left her at the hotel!” and then started laughing. She looked disgusted this time instead of disappointed. She was pretty upset about that. I thought it was funny. I had one job….bring the star of the show to party, and I left her in my room. So Lisa and I went back to the hotel, got her ashes and brought her back for distribution. Several people were hoping to leave that afternoon with a bit of Kaity with them. I think that right there is the high point of the whole entire experience.
Prior to even getting out there I had already made some irreverent jokes about how to display her ashes for sharing, knowing I wasn’t going to do more than open the bag for them. Like, she was a fucking party favor or something. “Don’t forget your Kaity when you leave!” It was pretty windy that day so I opened the box and bag she was in under a table. People had to get under the table so they could scoop her out without the wind blowing my sisters corpse dust all over the snacks and off into the sky. With the balloons. Some people used a plastic cup. Someone else broke out a green baby spoon for scooping and it was left in there when everyone got what they wanted. My brother was grossed out and thought it was creepy that people wanted her ashes. Yeah, it kind of is, but I also kind of got it; it’s an actual piece of Kaity, maybe something more than her body is there or maybe there is some connection between her soul and the ashes; something tangible now that she’s all the way gone. I myself kept a small cup. I have a small amount of Dad’s ashes too. It’s fucking weird but also creepily comforting.
And that was it. That was the service. Some more small talk happened, I awkwardly stood around and then looked through some pictures. A couple of really nice people that weren’t junkies came up to me and talked with me some. I got a nice card and was able to meet a gal in person I had gotten to know on facebook over the past few years. She and Kaity had a good friendship, were really pretty tight for a while and when she was in trouble Krystle would let me know. But man, I had to get out of there. I made sure everyone got all the Kaity they wanted before leaving and Lisa and I took off. Nick etal were already gone, ducking out earlier because it was just too fucking weird and uncomfortable.
The next day Lisa and I went to the coast and I threw her in the ocean. She flew in the wind and the water soaked her up. I don’t know for sure that was what she wanted with what was left of her but that’s what we did with dad, at the same beach too. I figured that she’d be ok with that. I do know that she would have liked to have been mixed up with her husbands ashes but I didn’t really know where they were and thought I’d just….not look for him.
So there you have it. I wrote some about my sister. I do feel better, like I poured off the top of a drink that was overflowing the glass some. It’s not as well written as I’d like but this was a little more about getting it out than entertainment. To be fully entertained this is more a story to tell than read. But maybe someday when I’m a rich bitch and writing my memoirs I’ll have become a better writer and can make it flow better. Also I’ll have more time for editing and re-reading and editing and re-reading and some shit.
Thanks for reading. And if no one read it, well, then….poop on you. It was funny, so there.