There was a chance, they said. She could pull through, they said. Isn’t that what doctors always say to the family of dying patients? To be honest, I had half a mind to believe them until they said, “She seems like a fighter. The rest is up to her now.”
Mira was never a fighter in any sense. Violent video games gave her anxiety, depression whispered in her ear. She’d lost her youthful looks in her early 20’s, sprouting white streaks throughout her brown hair. It was stress. Her passion for like completely vanished not long after.
She wasn’t the type to slit her wrists. The pain would be unbearable. She was weak in most aspects and would have fainted the moment blood broke the surface. One more thing she would have failed at…
Pills had always seemed like a good option. I think that’s common for women. Mira didn’t know anyone with those kind of pills though. She’d managed to get her hands on three OxyContin once. Knowing it wasn’t a lethal amount she swallowed the with vodka, thinking she’d finish off the bottle and be done with it. I don’t know if that would have worked, but she only drank a few shots worth of the stuff before she passed out.
It was a desperate attempt to concoct a lethal elixir. She was knocked out, dead to the world for an entire day, but she still woke up feeling like even worse physical, mental, and emotional shit. She assured me she wouldn’t try it again. Unless she had a whole bottle of pills…and maybe drank some liquor first.
Despite her suicide attempt, and her lifelong battle with suicidal thoughts and depression, I sat in the special waiting room- that one for families to mourn the inevitable in private- unable to believe she’d done this to herself. Even though it seemed possible, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was…off. I kept quiet. My mom was in enough pain. Sixteen hours after being rushed into emergency surgery, my sister’s fight was finally over.
I watched a darkness fall over my mother’s face as she leaned in close to my sister. My heart broke, my mother was inconsolable. There were tubes of all kinds attached to my sister’s lifeless body, but my mom disregarded all the equipment to hold sweet Mira one last time. My sweet, gentle sister…
Mira wanted to die. The sense of relief I felt left bitterness in the back of my throat. That feeling of relief was hers, not mine. She could not find peace or happiness in her own life. Although I could have been angry, I couldn’t hold this against her. I accepted that death was her way of finding that which had alluded her in life.
Unwanted thoughts flooded me despite my empathy to her plight. Tears swelled in my eyes each time I thought about how scared and hopeless she must have felt before her body met the street, below her second story apartment.
The day of my sister’s funeral I could not control my tears. I wanted to be strong. Mira always admired my composure. I was supposed to be the strong one for my sister, my mother, for everyone to see. That’s what I’ve always done. Not that day.
I approached the casket. Thick, bitter guilt rose as bile in my throat again. The lavender shirt with delicate, lacey long sleeves and black dress pants had been my choice. The mortician did a good job covering the small cuts and bruising on her face and neck. The back of my sister’s skull had been shattered but somehow her face hadn’t been. To the other mourners, she must have looked beautiful, and she did. But I could tell there had been damage to her bone structure by the way her head laid against the pillow. Surely our mother could, too. This turned my stomach and I had to look away.
I stood over her, forced myself to look at her lying in the white satin of the casket. Suddenly I was taken back to a certain memory from our childhood. My sister and I playing a tag version of hide and seek in the field behind our grandparents’ house, where we spent every summer vacation. We were always warned not to go under the pines because they were infested with ticks, but being extremely competitive, I often hid there knowing Mira would give up and declare me the winner. That summer when we turned twelve, I snuck into the trees and waited for Mira. I won the title of Champion for the day, but my victory came with a price. A tick found its way onto my face and embedded itself to the underside of my jaw. Grandma heated up her best sewing needle and pried the thing’s mouth from my skin. A small price to pay to keep my winning streak alive.
Mira was appalled by the whole ordeal. I was scared when Grandma came at me with that needle, but I tried to hide it. Otherwise, Mira might never play outside with me again. I was strong and claimed the pin prick burn scar of Grandma’s needle was my champion battle scar. Mira wasn’t tough or adventurous enough to get many lasting scars, and yet…
As I laid my head on her chest and draped my arms over her to hug her one last time, I saw on her face that tiny scar left by grandma’s needle. Faint as it was, I saw it through watery eyes. It was no coincidence my sister had this same scar.
I knew Mira had mental issues, I just never understood how bad things truly were. My mother had barely spoken to me since the day Mira died. I thought I understood. Looking into the casket was like looking at a lifeless reflection of myself. But I couldn’t blame my mother if she never spoke to me again.