Memorials…a form of self-torture?

My cousin just got a tattoo of my sister’s name on her shoulder.


My sister’s name surrounded by stars, covering her entire shoulder.



Not that I didn’t think of getting a tattoo that represented my sister… I did.  But, I then opted for a bracelet that held a tiny bit of her ashes (and by opted, I mean I found a bracelet online that I intend to buy eventually…).  My hesitation is that I don’t always want to remember.  My sister has set up permanent residence in my brain and like some annoying upstairs apartment neighbor, she stomps around a lot, especially those moments when I want peace and quiet.  Okay, that’s probably my worst analogy to date…but hey…whatev.  The point is – when I’m not extremely focused on something, she’s there.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.

So, when she’s not…when I get a respite, it’s kinda nice.  So, there’s this back and forth – I love her, I love my memories of her, I love the things that remind me of her – but all of these have the potential to make me sad – quiet sad, angry sad, happy sad, sad sad.  So, are they good or bad?  Or some weird in-between?

I was talking to the admin of Remembering our lost Siblings about this.  I decided it was time to change my FB pic from my sister and me to something else…  It felt like I was betraying her.  Or making some grand statement that I was over her death.  I am not.  But that picture made me sad to see all the time, so I decided it was time to change it…..I never knew I would cry over changing a FB profile pic.  But, it was super difficult.  So, I related this story to the admin and she replied:

“On my phone I have the screen set to a picture of my brother and I…. It’s like a weird form of torture?!? I love the pic I want to see him but at the same time it makes me sad?!? IDK either!!! What I DO know is, it’s ok not to know… To give myself time to figure it out. Personally I am VERY happy u shared your dilemma. I believe by knowing another person feels the same way it validates the feeling… tells me I’m not alone or nuts… I’ll let u know if/when I change the picture.”

And she’s dead on…  Because (1)  I, too, have a pic of me and my sister as my phone’s background, which I probably won’t change…and (2) it does feel a little like torture.  I want to see her…but it hurts.  I guess the difference between this and the FB pic is that I’m only inflicting pain on myself with my phone.  With FB, I could have been upsetting other people…so maybe that’s why I felt more compelled to change it?  Maybe, it’s going back to that cultural thing I mentioned last time – that pressure to be positive or at least present yourself in a positive, nothing’s wrong, my-sister-didn’t-just-die sort of way…

Obviously, people feel differently about this (referring to tattooed cousin).  Maybe, having something real, tangible, and even tattooed is comforting – some connection to a past loved one.  And, I did want something like that.  I searched my sister’s room up and down, inside and out, and nothing, not a single object, shouted at me and screamed: HERE IS YOUR CONNECTION WITH YOUR SISTER IN THE GREAT BEYOND!!!  I really wanted something to physically hold onto…  Oh well.  Guess that’s not my style.

Who would have thought you could have grief styles?

I can think of no good way to end this tonight.  I’m tired.  In re-reading this, though, I did find an unintended pun.  A slice of black humour pie, anyone?