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  • Writer's pictureGrey Chapin

Don't Let Me Go

My greatest fear is forgetting. Forgetting the sound of her laugh, the feeling of holding her hand, forgetting her face. I was 13 when my sister Blair passed away, and I wouldn’t have thought “forgetting” would ever be a worry. But memories fade. Some, I’ve completely erased from my mind. I recently realized that my brain has erased most of middle school. Friends will bring up stories from middle school, and I don’t remember a thing. I usually joke, “I blocked out all of middle school,” a relatable thing to do, but for me… it’s different. In seventh grade, my sister died. Those memories and others from our 13 years together have slowly faded from my mind.

It’s an odd and horrible thing to lose someone that young and be left with only childhood memories. When I find photos of Blair and I that I haven’t seen before, it’s a feeling of excitement. These new-old photos are like brand new memories for me. That excitement, though, is often followed by confusion. I try to remember taking the photo, but I was just a kid. Sometimes it feels like I’m watching someone else’s life. When I see photos of other super sibs with their brothers or sisters, it’s surreal to remember that was my life too. I’m living such a different one now. I’m 16, with so many more experiences and so much more understanding than the 13-year-old Blair knew. I live like an only child, but get panicked when I think of myself that way. I panic when I realize I haven’t thought of Blair that particular day. I dread a day when my life has less reminders of her, like living in her old bedroom and being surrounded by people who knew and loved her. Then again, I feel a sense of relief thinking about that day.

I recently stumbled upon a video that my dad put on YouTube nine years ago. Titled, “A Sister’s Loving Hand,” it shows the way I loved and protected Blair even at seven years old.

The lyrics, “don’t let me go,” fit perfectly with the way Blair and I always held on tight to each other. After that video was made, I began to hold tighter as Blair couldn’t hold on to me anymore. The words “don’t let me go” are just as significant in our relationship today. Every day, I make an active effort to keep Blair on my mind. When I'm remembering Blair, I'm a better person. Even if memories continue to fade, I refuse to let her go. Blair hasn’t lost her signature tight (and sometimes painful) grip either. She sends me reminders constantly, and she will never let me go.

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