Some memories never fade

March 11 is my day to feel depressed. I could never forget her birthday, because it was two days after mine, and she was my baby sister, 11 years younger than I am. I remember how she’d hold my hand as we walked down to the store for candy to celebrate, and how she would pop her head out the door and sing-song about how I had a girl friend when I was walking home from school with, OK, a girl, and sure, I would marry her several years later, but that was just premature. And embarrassing, as little sisters can be.

And then she died, and I’m stuck thinking of her every March, and more often. Dammit. Why doesn’t grief ever die?

One last walk to the candy store? I’ll get you whatever you want, I promise.


  1. Sean Boyd says

    No words, PZ, save for the obvious: grief sucks. Be well, be safe. We’ll websee you again when you’re ready.

  2. redwood says

    I had a younger sister born 11 months (not years) after me, so we were “twins” part of the year. I was closer to her than to my other siblings and we shared the same rather side-eyed view of religion and life in general. She worked as a natal nurse because she loved the little babies and when that got to be too much for her, she worked in a hatchery that sent baby chicks all over the country, again with her little babies.
    When the cancer recurred at 38, she held on long enough for me to get back to the States from Japan with my 6-month-old daughter so she could hold her once and she passed three days later.
    Yeah, it sucks, and I still have things I want to tell her, just to hear her laugh.

  3. reynardo says

    I hear you loud and clear. Order of the Stick said it too. “wanna play blocks with me?” “More than anything.”

    She’ll always be with you, and that’s not a bad thing. Sad, yes, heartachingly so, but not bad. As long as you remember her, she’s with you.

  4. gijoel says

    You never really stop grieving the loss of someone you love. You just learn to live with it, and you learn to remember and appreciate the good times as much as the bad.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    Grief never dies because love never dies.
    Between the two they inform most all of our memories.
    They are the outliers of emotion. Both involve certain individual people.
    It is those people who matter to us. Parents, siblings, teachers, heroes. Some are people we only knew for a moment. They appeared suddenly, gave us a thing of great value and then vanished just as quickly.
    We honor their existences in memory, reliving cherished moments.
    They live within us and their lives are great joys to us
    even as their deaths are great sorrows. The scale is balanced; the wheel still turns.

  6. jack16 says

    @4 Ed Seedhouse

    Ahh, Mark Twain! The poignancy of communicating with the dead. Think how frustrated a resurrected Archimedes would be with all the lesser minds correcting his silly error about gravity. Now there is, I think, a good reason to fear death. We living carry the light of knowledge. When we are gone this light may be forever gone from the universe. A worthwhile fear!


  7. joeeggen says

    As I get older, I find myself agreeing more with PZ’s view of birthdays. In my case the one I have the most trouble with now is my father’s. He passed away suddenly less than 2 years ago, shortly after I became a dad myself. His birthday will be next week, and coincidentally my wife and I are expecting the imminent arrival of our second child at the same time – there is a strong chance they will share the same birthday. I have mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, I (and my family) would love for them to share the same day, but on the other I don’t want my child’s birthday to be tinged with sadness as they grow up. I know it will be OK either way, and the day that a new little person joins our family will be filled with happiness, but… well, I guess I’ll just have to keep moving forward, right?

  8. MadHatter says

    No, it never fades. I suppose sometimes that’s a comfort, I was afraid I’d forget but you never do. Virtual hugs PZ.

  9. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Today I’m wearing my Ravenclaw tie at work. Not because I have to wear a tie, I’ve never had one of those jobs, but because of your grief.

    The SmallFry is a huge potterhead. When we went to Melbourne to see The Cursed Child I had to take her to The Store of Requirement, a Harry Potter themed kitsch store. I have to admit I was a bit caught up in the moment and I bought this rather nice tie in my house colours.

    The Smallfry has been after me to wear it ever since, and I’ve demurred out of silly adult embarrassment. But today I did because she’s going to be delighted about it, and in that way some tiny joy in the world will come from your sorrow.

    I’m so sorry that you’re hurting PZ. All the best to you and yours.

  10. says


    …are you serious? YES. YES I want it to die. Permanent grieving makes it impossible to function, and when your friends keep dropping like flies one after another to drugs or illness or suicide, all because of poverty, the grief is compounded by the knowledge that your friends didn’t HAVE to die, that they died because rich people don’t give a shit.