it was early morning and i woke to the sound of three loud thumps on the floor above me. i knew my parents needed me in a hurry, as that's how they'd get my attention when they couldn't go to the top of the stairs to call my name. i heard this noise many, many times before but never panicked. sometimes i ignored it, thinking whatever they needed me for wasn't as important as my sleep - but this time, i jumped to my feet in an instant and i ran upstairs skipping three steps at a time. i felt in my gut there was something terribly wrong.
i reached the kitchen where my mother was pacing the floor and crying hysterically while on the phone with our family doctor. down the hall, i could hear panic in my fathers voice as he said my sisters name over and over. i ran into her bedroom, saw him kneeling beside her bed holding her, rocking her back and forth. she had taken a seizure.
i ran out of her room, through the kitchen, passed my mom, and at the very top of my lungs i screamed for my boyfriend who was still downstairs in my bed. the scream scratched my throat and left it raw. it radiated through my body and made me shiver. i scared myself. i never knew i was capable of such a noise.
when i think about it, i can still hear that cry ringing in my ears. i can still feel the weakness in my knees and the pounding of my heart as i ran across the kitchen. i can still feel my body crashing to the floor with no strength to stop it, and the horror and disbelief as a pain radiated through my chest. i felt my heart breaking.
she was going to die.
we were all there as she took her last breath, but in that moment we were left to live our lives without her and we didn't know how.
and we'll never know how.
but if we had the strength to get through that, we have the strength to get through anything.