Today is my sister’s 46th birthday. She died on Christmas Day 1973 at the age of eleven from leukemia. In the intervening 35 years I’ve come to terms with her death, come to terms with my grief, and my survivor’s guilt. But there is one question I cannot answer: who would she be?
Amy was a straight-A student, she was also extremely willful and often at odds with my mother. She loved horses and the outdoors, but also reading and playing games. Would she, today, be someone I liked, or would have drifted apart like my brother and I? I believe my family would have been profoundly different had she not gotten cancer and died. But then I would have been different as well. I would not be the man I am today.
Life is an equation, a calculus of all that we see and do and are, with results that are sometimes hidden or obscured from our view. Change one part of the equation and unexpected results abound. Change another part with no apparent effect. I don’t have answers, only questions. I can’t ever know who she would have been. I only know who she was, and who she is in my memories.
Happy birthday Amy.