I see Jayne and me sitting at Pies and Pints, her blonde hair flying and her head falling back in laughter. She’s lit up, alive—5 and 16 and 28 and 32—all over again. We’re telling stories about guys and saying things we would’ve said at those ages. Ours is the laughter of happy girls, something we weren’t allowed to be very often, being told to “act our age” and “grow up.”
Jayne did, fast. Married at 19, two kids followed bringing a bulk of responsibility. Jayne was up to it, even all the caretaking when cancer took her husband of 33 years. Then, the toll called upon my sister’s soul and she was weighted with a palpable brokenness, the loneliness of a widow.
As Jayne’s grappled with her grief all I could do was stand by and hold her hand like a mother helping her child fight sickness. Grief grabbed my sister like winter shapes the landscape.
Then, one day, like the flower in the sidewalk in spring, my sister’s smile emitted joy. Another day, her laughter beat like a drum in my heart. There were steps forward because life leads us on if we let it. Jayne allowed for tomorrows when all she wanted were yesterdays.
Now, grief has lived as an unwanted guest in her gut for two years and nine months. She’s endured too many Tuesdays since the one her husband went away. A year and a half has passed since I moved in to witness the healing.
With honor, I’ve served as her spotter, as if someone could spot the building of a butterfly. I’ve seen her colors evolve and her wings expand. She was in a sticky cocoon, but there were moments and now occasionally days, when I spot her flying.
Like when I see Jayne and me sitting at Pies and Pints, her blonde hair flying and her head falling back in laughter. She’s lit up—5 and 16 and 28 and 32—all over again. We are giggly girls and we are wise women. We are sisters sitting at Pies and Pints.