Yesterday my sister Francesca boarded a plane bound for Australia, and I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. I had prior commitments, got the day she was leaving mixed up, and I missed saying goodbye to my favorite person. She bought a one way ticket, without a solid plan or an idea of what she is going to do once she gets there. I admire that most about her…the fact that she is completely unconventional, lives life according to nobody’s plan, and just let’s things happen, unfolding before her and just going with it. She is one of the very few people I know who actually LIVES, and enjoys every moment of life. I think everyone should take a lesson from her.
Anyone who has been lucky enough to have ever come in contact with Francesca knows what a special person she is. She is unlike anyone I have ever met in my life. She is beautiful and bright and happy and shiny. She is kind, and loving, and sweet, and always looks at the bright side….of absolutely everything. She is the favorite of everyone in our family, and none of us try to hide it. She is the center of everyone’s universe, and when people ask me to describe her role in our family…I tell them she is like Sweden..neutral. (I know…it’s Switzerland that’s neutral, but geography isn’t my strong suit and I’ve always gotten the two mixed up, so it kind of stuck…besides…who doesn’t love IKEA and Swedish Fish?) I love all my sisters, obviously, but Francesca is different. Francesca is special.
Francesca is always the one to make everyone laugh, whether we are embroiled in a heated argument, or crying over lifes latest devastation. She is compassionate and caring, as anyone on the receiving end of her selflessness will be able to tell you. She has volunteered with countless organizations, the most important ones to her being the ones that help kids. Kids love Francesca, and Francesca loves kids, because she is still one at heart. People say that kids are pure and are the ones we should listen to for life advice, since they are unaffected and know how to truly enjoy themselves. Francesca is exactly that. She just lives purely and passionately, and is completely and authentically herself. She sees the good in everyone and everything. She is truly just an incredible, beautiful person.
She is four years younger than me but she gives me the best advice. She has been there for me at some of the lowest points of my life, and has always believed in me and encouraged me. She spent the last year living in Savannah, and before that was away at school in North Carolina. That was different. She was still close enough to make a long drive or a quick flight. Now she might as well be on a different planet. She is literally an entire day away. To get to her, I would have to be on a plane for literally an ENTIRE DAY. And I just don’t know how to deal with that.
The way I have been dealing with it is not good. For the past couple of months, I have been moody and emotional, and I haven’t talked about what was really bothering me. I didn’t hang out with my sister as much as I should have, because I thought it would make it harder to say goodbye if I got too used to spending a lot of time with her. So I did what any nut job would do, I threw myself into anything and everything that did not involve my sister, because it was too painful to face the fact that she was leaving. And now I regret it. Over the past couple of months, we have fought and argued more than we have in 24 years. We argued over who called who last, or who was being short and snippy via text messaging. We fought about who’s responsibility it was to make the effort to hang out. I’m pretty sure at one point we were fighting over the color of the sky. We spent so much time fighting that we didn’t spend time with each other.
Now I’m sitting here, on a rainy, windy, miserable day regretting pretty much every moment of the last few months. I haven’t been able to stop crying for the past few hours. I wish I had been a little less selfish, and had spent more time with her, and had the foresight to realize just how empty I would feel with her gone. I’m going to miss drinking mimosa’s on the dock in my parents neighborhood on Easter Sunday. I’m going to miss plucking her eyebrows for her. I’m going to miss playing dress up with her and telling her what to wear…she was my real live barbie doll when we were kids, and she still is. She says she hates it when I try and tell her what to wear, but I know she actually loves it.
This feeling of emptiness is unreal. The fact that I can’t just drive to her and give her a hug for the next YEAR is impossible to comprehend. The fact that I won’t be able to snuggle with her and watch The Kardashians is heartbreaking. I was not prepared for this feeling. Not in the least. I don’t know how people handle their loved ones being off at war. I REALLY don’t know how people handle their loved one’s dying, because I am fairly certain I would actually die from that kind of pain. At least I know it’s temporary, and that she will be back eventually.
Even though I am absolutely devastated and heartbroken, I am so incredibly proud of my sister. I could not be prouder of anyone. She is living life in a way that I wish I could. She is going off on an adventure, and is going to have the best experience ever. She is going to have the most amazing stories, just like our mom does. She is so much like our mom it’s scary. My mom travelled all over the world and lived in so many different places before settling down, getting married, and having kids, which is one of the things I admired most about my mom my whole life. My mother truly LIVED, she didn’t just graduate college, get married, and start popping out kids. She had a LIFE, and Francesca will too. Francesca is our mom’s mini-me. And I am so happy for her.