We lost Yan once before when she was very young, and that left a gaping hole in our lives. When we found her again, she liked saying that she felt whole again. I’m not sure if I ever told her that she made us whole again. she had a lightness about her, that made you want to be with her all the time, and that made her so very easy to love. she had the best laugh, and she knew how to have fun. my sister did not have the easiest life when she was younger, but looking at her you would never think it, she lived with grace and she lived with kindness. When she visited me in the US, and got to meet my friends, they all took to her right away, what with her beautiful laughter and her easy going, happy soul, also they got a kick out of how she’d call me “ate” in her Aussie accent. This is what else i remember about my sister. when we were in NY together and went to see the Lion King she cried almost non-stop, tears streaming down her face kind of crying, that’s how much she loved it, when we were in Madrid she obsessively researched on where to go for the best churros, the best paella, and where to see the most heart stopping flamenco dancers. she knew what she liked and she went for it. she loved food as much as I did, when we were walking around Madrid and we stumbled upon a small joint that had the best empanadas, we both felt like we were the luckiest people in the world. my sister was very very fun to be with. she loved records, she loved books, and she loved pop culture. she knew how to live, unabashedly and without fear.
One would think that losing her again that gaping hole would return, but I got a few extra years with her, and for that I know I am lucky. I’d like to leave with a poem by Mary Oliver, when I think of this poem, I am reminded of how well Marianne lived her life.
Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean - the one who flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down - who is gazing around with enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?