1980 – 1998
March 20th, 1998
It was Report Card Day. She came home from school with a bad report card. She felt terrible and couldn’t stop crying. Her father was choleric, and she was terrified to show him her failing grade. She walked warily into his room and couldn’t even look at him. She gave him the report and waited anxiously for his reaction. He took one look at it and flung it aside. He told her she was useless, stupid, and a slut. She was a woman, and he didn’t expect much from her. Then he stood up, walked out of the house, got into his car, and drove off. As he left, she burst into tears and locked herself in her room. She felt like her life was a misery and she could no longer stand to be in it. A couple of minutes later she walked out of her room, went through the medicine cabinet, and took a lot of pills. She died that day on the way to the hospital. She was seventeen years old.
I remember that day like it was yesterday, I was a child and I felt sad and angry about what had happened. I remember those words – slut, useless, stupid – that were attributed to you because you were a girl. I remember your loving spirit, your smile. Your beautiful brown skin, big brown eyes, and long frizzy hair. A beautiful tropical flower. Losing you that way touched me to the core. I cried, and cried, and cried, and I never forgot. I carried that pain for a very long time, and I was only able to let it go a few days ago – twenty years later. You impacted my life significantly, and I am proud to be your little sister. I know you are happy where you are, and you will always be in my heart.
Today I am the mother of one of the most amazing little girls I know. She is the first person I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last person I think about when I go to sleep. She is so easy to love and means everything to me. I often tell her how precious she is and how much I love her. I hope my unconditional love for her will give her a sense of self and value that does not depend upon skills, looks, or accomplishments of any sort.