February 18th, 2006 Alexa’s father died. To mark the one year anniversary last year I posted the tribute that she wrote for for his funeral. Since then Alexa has written more about surviving loss and living with chronic illness.
Since today marks the second year I have provided a link to the tribute she wrote and read at his funeral and I’m also posting the following tilted: My Angel
“There is one person who has gotten me through all the hardships in my life, all those nights I cried, all those days I thought that ending my life would be easiest on everyone. My angel was the one who stopped me and she has been my best friend since birth. Complete opposites, she is wild and crazy and I am quiet and withdrawn. I watch life and she lives it. Her name is Kalli; she is my cousin, my best friend and my guardian angel.
My father had always looked at Kalli as a second daughter, so when I found out he had died I wanted to be the one to tell her. Even amidst of our tears, anger and pain Kalli did what she always did, she made everything better. Within minutes of the horrible news she had me laughing so hard that I had forgotten what had happen. With lines like: “Well maybe you can get a puppy now” and “Do you think they’re naked in heaven since you don’t need clothes up there?” She never fails to make me smile even on days when it seems impossible.
At my Fathers wake Kalli never left my side, always there to hold my hand and to hold me when another sob rattled though my body. I remember not being able to take it anymore and I tried so hard to hide it but Kalli knew. Quietly she weaved me through the crowd and outside onto the sidewalk where I collapsed into a ball. I laid my cheek onto the cool concrete with Kalli sitting next to me brushing the hair away from my face and telling me it would all be okay. Like always, she was right. What would I have done if she hadn’t been there? If I would have stayed in that room crowded by people. What would I have done if she wasn’t there to hold me and keep me from collapsing to my knees, the thought still cross my mind.
I had written a speech to read at the funeral, everyone was unsure telling me I would most likely not be able to read it, that I would stop in the middle of it crying. But Kalli, like always, was there telling me that I could and I did. When the pastor called my named to come to the podium and start the speech, silently Kalli and I walked up hand in hand and faced the hundred people who came to mourn. Throughout the speech she stood behind me quietly sniffling and every second when I was sure I was going to quit, she knew and squeezed my hand giving me the strength I needed to keep going.
I will always remember going to a grief group with my grandmother, I of course brought Kalli with me. We sat in the group shy, practically sitting on top of each other. I never noticed it before, but the people in the group became interested in how Kalli and I acted, how when she moved I moved at the same time, without thinking about it, we fit together like a puzzle. Sometimes, I don’t think we are aware that we are two separate people when we are together.
At one point during the session a lady looked at us with such sadness in her eyes, she had lost her son a few years back, and she said, “you two are so lucky to have one another, to be so close. I wish I had some one like that in my life.”
It dawned on me that she was right, Kalli and I are closer than anybody I know. We remind me of twins, how they are said to be connected in a way and there is no question that Kalli and I are. I don’t think her and I will ever grow apart, she was sent to help me through my life and I was sent to help her.” – Lexx
I’ll close this post with a note to my daughter, an excerpts from the essay, “As I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olson
“I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron…when is there time to remember, to sift, to weight to estimate, to total? I will start and there will be an interruption and I will have to gather it all to gather together again. Or I will become engulfed with all I did or did not do, with what should have been and what cannot be helped…There is still enough left to live by. Only help her to know-help make it so there is cause for her to know that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.”