Hey you, what’s going on? You’re not meant to be ageing still. Time is only a mortal thing. I guess that’s alright for you but for me, it’s just weird. Because if you’re left to remain twenty-five years, seven months and seven days old forever, well that’d mean one day, that I’ll be older than you. That’s not right, no. Why?! I’ll give you why: because you’re my big sister and I’m your Little Babe and it doesn’t work the other way around, you duffer.
Well, I suppose it could be that you’re not any age at all anymore. I’d feel better with that. Because if you’re ageless, then we won’t have a problem once I’m twenty-five years, seven months and eight days old, will we? No, because that’ll just mean I will have lived longer than you… but that’s still sad… I don’t know how to make it not sad, it just is.
But I don’t cry so much anymore. I can think of you and be happy, nice memories and such. But there are still days where I sit, staring at the woodgrain of the floorboards letting the concept that we’ll never be physically together again baffle me. See, it’s just too beyond comprehension, this foreverness.
Well anyway, I bought you a cake. I remember that one time, six years ago to the night, when we were camping in Noosa and you, Mum and I all realised we should get a cake for your 21st, last minute. I believe it must’ve been in the back of my mind. I surely could never forget about timely dessert. But with those trusty supermarket mud cakes, you can never go wrong! Except, of course, when you don’t have any plates or cutlery about… but didn’t that make it so fucking funny? Man, I swear the fact that we were cacking ourselves over having to gouge handfuls out of this cake, sitting on a picnic blanket outside the tent in darkness, but for the salvation of a dim battery lantern, made it taste even sweeter. And then I think about how I don’t really remember a time in your adult life where you got much healthier than you were then and yet, you were still in pain. It also makes me think about how now, I’m that age, and yet you seemed so much older than I feel now, back when I was fifteen…
People think there’s a limit to grief. Like it’s on some timer and once it runs out, that’s it, it doesn’t affect you anymore. All the people who seem to think that have a different assumption of how long that timer’s set for too. Prime example on The Bachelorette the other night –it just came on, I swear, I’m not avidly watching it, okay?— well, they decided they’d add a bit in, to trivialise death because trivialising love isn’t enough already. So this guy was opening up about his mum dying and how it made him fear pursuing other relationships that could end, and stupid bogan mouth, Sophie Monk goes and says, “Why do ya think that is, d’ya think you still haven’t gotten over it?”
Ha! Safe to say I had a good hard scoff at her and changed the channel. Can you believe people would think you just build a bridge and then it’s all fine again? You would die if you heard— oh, well, turn in your grave— or tousle about in a frenzy of ash in the sea, if you heard the crap people come out with.
The grief of a death doesn’t just end. It just gets more manageable. And I wish I could tell more people stories about you and them not get uncomfortable over even the happiest memory, just because they know you’re dead now. I love you Chlo, and I wish I’d told you that more. No matter how much you age, or don’t age, or whatever, you’ll always be the older one. Though you left early, you got here before me. So happy birthday, you old fart and it’s okay; I can eat your share of cake too, so don’t worry.
Lots of love,