I’ve been ornery. Not only have I been ornery but I have been angry. Man! Have I been angry! Usually I can track down the usual culprits. Messy house, disorganized life, kids aren’t listening, the list could go on and on. For the life of me I could not figure out what has had me just plain angry. Until today. I was heading back from a short little trip with my kids and hubby. We make this trip every year. Tradition. I love it. We spend a few days shopping, swimming, hiking, and playing in Park City, Utah. But this year, I just could not shake the aggravation that followed me. We had a great trip. There was lots of fun and laughter, and as we neared our home, it dawned on me. Today was August 16, that means in 3 days it will be August 19. One of the worst days of my life.
Because of my love and obsession for design and building, many of my life events can be connected to my memories of building my home. Almost exactly 9 years ago….wow, 9 years. We were building our home. I was 6 months pregnant, with a almost 2 year old son. Building had gone along quite smoothly. When I say we were building our home. We. were. building. our. home. We prepared the foundation, framed the walls, installed electrical and short of plumbing, drywall, and insulation we did it all.
So on an average August 16th day 9 years ago, we were moving along. roof was done, we were so close to installing all the windows and doors. We had a good amount of windows left and a couple exterior doors. After that would be drywall. I was so excited. I was going about my business cleaning up the job site when I got a call. It was my dad. He told me that my sister, who had just come out of surgery , was on her way to the hospital. At the time I received the call, he had seemed to think it was not serious. He said not to worry, that they would let me know if things changed. Things did change, Late that night I got another call. They said to get to Las Vegas as soon as possible. I was 4 hours away. We loaded up and drove like hell to get there. Things got worse, then slightly better, then really bad. My oldest sister, who I had always looked up to. Who never took crap from anyone. We were losing her. There was nothing anyone could do. 3 days later on August 19, we lost her, and with her I lost a part of me. Our family would never be the same. 9 years later, I still feel that loss. Our family still changed.
Life was quite hazy for a while after we lost her. But oddly enough, there are a few random things that stick out in my mind. When we came home a week after she had passed away, every window had been put in my home. The exterior doors had been installed. Tender mercies. I know it seems insignificant. But it wasn’t. The fact that my brother in law had worked so hard to do this for us, when he didn’t really know what else to do touched my heart. I will always be grateful for his huge heart. There was nothing anyone could do to heal the ache we felt. He just did what he could do.
A few years after my sister had passed, my anxiety had veered out of control. I began seeing a counselor. One thing that had always stuck out in my mind was this. Our bodies have an alarm clock. There are times of the year when we will react and behave uncharacteristically. Especially those who have dealt with any type of tragic event. He explained that there might be days, even weeks when you will feel certain ways, especially when some type of anniversary is near. For me, I often felt on edge, sad, and more often angry. Weeks before my sisters birthday I will feel anxious, nervous, and will never really get why, until it clicks. My body remembers these anniversaries. That’s when I realized today, August 16, we were heading down to Vegas, unsure of what was going on. August 19, we lost her. Now I understand. My body has been trying to tell me all month. Its coming. And you’re still not okay. And its okay to not be okay. There will always be a hole in my heart that will never be completely healed. She’s right there, with my two little angel babies. She is in my memories, my happiness, my saddness.
So, when I speak of my home being more than just a house, its not just because of the good memories. Also for the bad. It is a timeline of our lives. So many times I look out my kitchen window and I think of that time. A time of complete heartache, and incomprehensible mercy. I remember the kindness of countless people and the selfless service they gave our family. Aimee, I hope you can look down and be proud. I hope you can see our triumphs and our failures. I hope you can see that I have learned from you, to never take NO as an answer. To follow my dreams. Life is not the same. Man do I miss you. Tonight I am going to take that anger and turn it into hope. I love you Aimee.Aimee Slater Johnson
January 15, 1972- August 19, 2006
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