Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Open Letter to My Sister, Lura

Lura

You've been gone from my life since Lola was born. Six years. My daughter has your eyes, enormous, long fringed, clear blue. I went through a stage, when she was about three? or four?
where looking at her hurt, in my stomach, in my mouth. Her rounded cornflower face, glossy
blonde hair, sloped pale belly, long, long legs. So much like you, so much like you at the age when you were beginning to be hurt, and no one protected you, and your eyes saw what I would kill to ensure my daughter never sees. Remembering you as a girl. Your innocence was radiant. Palpable in your trembling purple veins, paper thin skin, the turn of your impossibly long lashes, but most of all, in the direct clarity of your gaze. ' I have never hurt anyone ' your face said, ' I think this world is safe. ' Then that was gone. You were left strung tightly, arms crossed over your stomach, head lowered in every photo, eclipsed into sobs at the thought of wearing a bathing suit to the local pool. You made Mom come in and help you rearrange every piece of furniture in your room and scrub the walls and closet down with disinfectant. Your hair was braided so tightly you had headaches. You came into my room at night and slept with me, and it is one of the smallest gratitudes I can claim from that time, that I let you. You were always other-worldly, keenly, intimidatingly intelligent, straight A student, violin, your friends wore glasses and had braces and you were never mean, but after a certain pause,

you were truly angelic, you were suffering in complete isolation, and the purity of this never ending burn left you in such distance from the rest of the world ( you told me you left your body, remember, you said ' i went out the window and flew and saw the cat and looked in the window and saw myself and him and i stayed outside the window until i flew back in' and i sat helpless without knowing what to say, i said i love you, i'm sorry of course i said those things but what else... ) that you became distant from your body, your arms cued the fat cells and they folded over and shrank, and you were smaller and smaller, anorexic. A tall girl, 5'9, and you were smaller than I at 5'7, and we were always thin to begin with, so in the later years when you were hospitalized they made you eat, you had to weigh on a scale every day. Meanwhile you stayed knobby kneed into your teens. You had such a ferocious intelligence and beauty and otherwordliness that everyone was attracted to you, everyone. Everyone wanted to see you better. To be close to you. Boys wanted to love you and you wanted to let them but you couldn't, so of course, of course the only one you loved was the one who was far far away from your heart so that when you gave what you had to give to him he turned away and did not want it anymore.

I remember when you went to homecoming and you had chopped all your long hair to the tightest boyish crop and you came home and you told me he likes me so much and you never talked to him again, I remember understanding about that, because I understood much more than I realized at the time, in part because we are sisters, and because I lived in that house, too, because I grew up across the room from you in my room, sending a car with folded notes back and forth when were in trouble, because we were always in trouble, and we understood this long before we could articulate it.

I love you of course I do and maybe you will find these letters on the Internet.

Love
Maggie
Miss Grace said...

I hope she finds you.

Weith Kick said...

Very moving and tender. You'll pulled me in.

Love, Evolution, and Resilience said...

I hope she finds these letters. I love her, and I don't even know her. Much Love Mag.

Simplicity said...

Wow. I don't even know what to say. This is astonishing in its brazen openness! I hope she finds it too!!

Maggie May said...

i hope so too. it feels...like something i can't even articulate, and yet i feel constantly compelled to TRY.

Petunia Face said...

Wow. I hope she finds you, and that she finds herself. What a beautifully sad letter. Thank you for sharing it.

Lola said...

My brother and I used to do that car trick, too. Hopefully, she will find your beautiful letter.

michellewoo said...

Such raw honesty here. Thanks for sharing. There's something magical about the bond of sisterhood, eh? There's no doubt she wants you, even if she can't reach you.

Gail said...

The art, the clarity, the bones of this leave me speechless!!!

Hope said...

I'm sure that wherever she is right this moment, she could feel the warmth of your love...

Amber said...

How amazing would it be for her to find this letter? I'm sure sh'd be blown away by your love. I hope she's well and will find you again someday.

Kelly said...

I felt your love, your hurt. This is one of the most powerful things I have read today, most days.
I hope you find each other again.

Chaos and love said...

wounds so deep, yet you find the positive and the love. tricky, but no so much. I already see both of you in my mind.

PalagiGirl said...

That was awesome. I hope she finds you.

Holly said...

oh maggie, i hope she sees this.
so sweet and lovely.

Collin Kelley said...

I can only echo what others have said here. I hope she reads this and gets in touch.

Elle Charlie said...

Wow. I can feel the love you have for her from this letter - I hope she happens upon it. It's beautiful.

Annabelle said...

That was beautifully written... I'm left wordless because your touching words filled me. I hope she finds this too.

Patois said...

How could she not find you? She must.

Lauren K said...

Lovely words and beautifully written.

Montgomery Maxton said...

holy goodness.

yolanda said...

i know what anorexia is.
i am very moved....
love and strength to you, maggie.

Annie King said...

I hope she finds you and is in a position to accept your love. We can love our siblings, but we can't offer them the journey we've experienced to come out on the other side of abuse. Maybe she needs the time away to heal. Maybe she'll be back. All you can do is love her, and you do. My thoughts are with you both, and I hope she is well.

Megan said...

I wish for your reconciliation, your words to your sister are full of love. Now that they are out there, I hope that she may receive them.

best wishes,
Megan

Georgia said...

This was so, heartbreakingly beautiful. Hoping you find peace.

phd in yogurtry said...

Very sorry such traumatizing events have fragmented your sister and your relationship with her. I hope she's safe and gets help. And yes, I hope she finds you. She has to.

Callie Grayson said...

such tenderness, it pulled at my heart. I do hope she finds this letter, but I am sure she already has.

molly said...

wow.
i can only hope it feels good, or freeing in some way, to write it all down and put it all out there into the great big unknown and see the love pouring back in from strangers.
you do a lot to be this honest. good for you. and good for all the rest of us.

kerri nĂ­ dochartaigh said...

the fact that you can use this pain to be a better mother makes me see he world in a different light

kerri xx

JetAgeEric said...

My (now) wife and I knew Lura. She lived in my house in Silver Spring, MD; she and I had an absolutely insane housemate who literally drove us out of the house one night. Lura and I crashed with my wife, then Lura found somewhere to go and changed her name to Hannah. I found your site hoping I could find her. What a wonderful person and how sad to read about everything she's been through, and to have to wonder what she's going through now. Hopefully there's been contact between you in the last two years.

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