Two Lives

Who knew this "style" blog would become this? And what is this exactly
It seems to be some vague documentation of a challenging time in my life - a diary of sorts that I should have kept a year ago, but didn't . . . couldn't. A reflection of the desperation I am feeling to hold onto that time, however painful it was.  To remember the details - To hold onto Genine and somehow honor her in a way I never managed to do while she was alive.
Over the course of our 39 years together - I mastered the role of spoiled (usually sometimes adding 'bratty' into the mix) little sister.
During Genine's last 4 months on this Earth, I attempted to make up for it, I promised myself and eventually her that I would be so much better of a sister in the years to come. At one point, near the end, when she was too sick to remove her oxygen mask and was communicating mostly through writing I told her this through tears. I said 'I was going to be such a better sister to you" and she laboriously wrote with her notoriously long skinny fingers (Phoebe has inherited them) in her signature bubble writing "You're the best".  I wanted so badly for her to write "That's okay" or even a "Fuck you" (haha, imagine?) - some acknowledgement of how I could have been better, but that wasn't Genine. And she actually meant it. I was the best she had, by default, and as much as I failed her, she continued to love me unconditionally.

THAT was Genine.

But enough about her, this is clearly all about me. 
And what changed my life a year ago today.
One year ago today our mom called me at 7:30 AM - which was unusual. Mom, aka the martyr, likes to wait for her children to call her. She asked if the girls were at school yet. They weren't because I had been out late the night before. I hadn't managed to pull myself out of bed in time for the bus, instead I would drive them. She asked if I saw her missed called the day before, I hadn't. 
Because on April 4th, 2016 it was pretty much the only snowstorm of the year. I was driving and uncharacteristically concentrating on the road and hadn't seen her call, which I realized the next day came through at about noon. My day consisted of debating if I should motivate to go see Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros at a random venue in Cambridge. 
Cons: It was a Monday. The roads were crap, not to mention I had bought the tickets on eBay and wasn't entirely sure they were legit.
Pros: lead singer, Alex Ebert, is my Jesus.  It's literally like going to church for me. And my partner in crime, Lisa, was game. 
So off we went. 
We had a lovely dinner with jovial conversation. The night was complete with an adventure ditching some creepy Spaniard scientists that had taken a liking to us, and I eventually locked eyes with my love, Alex, as he sang 'Show me Love'.
Just your average Monday night.

So why was my Mom calling? 
She was calling to tell me that that Genine's doctor had told her it was time to prepare for something we hadn't considered yet, that Genine might not make it. I was shocked and really mad that they said that to my mom. Why would they say that to her? What was a mother supposed to do with that information? What were any of us supposed to do with it?
I hung up. Drove my kids to school. Came home and screamed the F word about a million times.  And pounded my fist on the kitchen island. And cried . . . the most heinous of cries but mostly screamed the F word. It was literally about all I could do.
 I think our lives change every day but this day was monumental in my frazzled brain. And so is the night before. The night before I consider a gift, because it carried a levity I'll never possess again. I obvs wish I could go back and take my mom's call when she first tried me - to share the burden of the devastating news, to maybe even drive to New York and hug them both instead of gazing at Alex. But we can't go back in time. We just cannot. 
And so began my second life.


  1. Ugh, I love you, lady! I won't begin to understand that day or the past year for you but I will say that we can all list 1200 flaws about ourselves, the people who love us don't see them or more likely, don't really care. Genine had the best sister. Not the best sister by default. She was all in, just as you were. Good, bad, ugly...all in is all in. xoxox

  2. Sarah, you are a beautiful soul! I have not doubt that you were an amazing sister to Genie. I love your writing! I can't wait to see you in Dallas! xo Your crawford sister

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