Another Holiday Season Without Her

November 28th, 2019

This is the 2nd Thanksgiving without my twin. It’s not any easier than the last. The holidays are a stark reminder of being alone without her. I have moved away from my family, away from Seattle, which for the most part I think was the best decision, but during times like this, I miss them, I miss what my life used to be. I miss being in the house, the room that we shared. I miss the familiarity of the last 20 years I spent with her. I live in a new home, a home she’s never known, a place we have no memories together. It feels wrong, lonely, and sad. I don’t recognize my life sometimes and it scares me the further away I move from who I once was. I am still not sure of who I am, what my future holds, and sometimes it scares the shit out of me. Other times, I know I am strong, I am becoming my own person. Today, I hate it, I hate that I had no choice, I hate that she got sick and had to leave me, I hate that I am alone.

This pain, this sadness, this hole in my life that she left behind is so overwhelming, suffocating, especially on days like today. I am sorry for being so damn depressing in this post, but my heart is still broken. I know for as long as I live, it always will be.

I know today I should be thankful, and I am, I have an amazing network of family and friends, new and old. I wouldn’t be here without them. But today I am allowing myself to be sad, grieve, and miss the life I once knew.

Wherever you are Aily, I am forever thankful that I got to be your twin, your other half, and that we had the best 39 years together. I am thankful that I was with you everyday through your sickness, till your last breath. I am thankful I got to be your co-pilot. Me loves you, me loves you so much. I miss you more than you could ever know.

P.S. My house is already decorated for Christmas, just for you

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Me and Aily, I think this is from Pre-K

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Pic from my aunt and uncle’s house in Brooklyn on Christmas. God, I miss her everyday

 

 

Fuck Cancer

October 25th, 2019

Fuck you cancer, fuck you for taking so many beautiful people from this world. Fuck you for taking my twin sister. Fuck you for taking my amazing friend Lecia this week. Fuck you for causing so much pain and suffering to those fighting you and the family members who are at their side. Fuck you!!! I am so mad, angry, heartbroken, sick of losing people I love so much.

My loved ones may be gone, but cancer cannot take the love I have for them or the wonderful memories we shared. I would like to share some of my favorite memories of Lecia and my sister. As many of those who worked with us at the law firm knew, we were huge NBA fans. It was 2007and the new Big Three were formed in Boston, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo was just starting to come into his own, learning from these veterans. Well my friend Lecia was a huge Lakers fan, Kobe Bryant being her favorite player. Aily loved Ray Allen, and I at the time was in awe of the blossoming Rajon Rondo. Our friend Tonya loved (and still does) LeBron James. I loved Kevin Garnett, but that’s another story. Anyway, we had our nicknames for each other, obviously Lecia’s name was Kobe, mine was Rondo, Aily’s was Allen, and Tonya was James. We worked a lot of late nights at the law firm together catering parties for them. We were lucky to have been able to have the chance to stay late some of these nights to watch basketball games together as our teams were in constant battle with one another at this time. Boston won the championship in 2008, so me and Aily’s team prevailed that year…just saying. Yes, Kobe and the Lakers kicked our asses for many years after that…but who’s counting? Ha ha. Anyway, at some point Lebron James had went to play for Miami and they became the new arch nemesis for Boston. Ray Allen left Boston to play with him and he became Nobody to us, so therefore my sister’s new nickname was Nobody and it used to make us all laugh. We even wrote it down on her work badge. We rarely ever called each other by our actual names, and I loved it, I loved how we all bonded and became so close because of our love of basketball.

Lecia had traveled a few times with me and my sister to Portland to watch some NBA games, as Seattle had lost their team. These were some of my favorite memories, where we spent time away from work, laughing, doing what we loved! At home, Lecia and I would always text each other during basketball games and she would laugh hysterically when I would be cursing when my team would play like shit.

Rest in peace Kobe and Nobody, Rondo loves and misses you both so much!! I know you are together, and we will all be reunited again someday.

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Aily’s work badge

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One of the many late nights at the law firm watching basketball, and working

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One of our holiday parties

The Journey Continues

September 23, 2019

It’s been almost a month since my big move back to Albuquerque, NM. I have settled in quite nicely, catching up with old friends and adjusting to living alone. I enjoy my alone time, decorating my place just the way I want it. I love to come home because it feels like my home, a feeling I never had in Seattle. I miss my family, but I know this was the best thing I could do for me. I am working part time as a caretaker/helper for an elderly lady who I think is so remarkable. She has lived an amazing life and I am so happy to help her out in any way I can. I am looking for full time work, and hopefully the right job will come my way. I finally feel like I am living my life for me. I am doing what I want, not worrying about having to take care of anyone but myself.

There is one thing I cannot escape, the loneliness I feel not having Aily with me. I don’t really know how to verbalize this and explain this without sounding crazy or extremely weird. I am 41 years old and for the first time I am taking care of only myself, yet I feel this overwhelming sense of guilt and sadness knowing that I was forced into this situation, that this choice was not mine. I would give anything to grow old with my twin sister and we had planned our lives accordingly. Unfortunately, we have no control over what life throws our way, and I was forced into figuring out this life, alone without her. There are nights when I feel happy and content with my decision to move here. And then there are those nights where I am like, what the fuck did I do? Am I running away from her? I left our house, our memories, ran away from the sadness, the hurt I felt in Washington. I feel like a coward leaving our “room” (my parents dining room) where she passed, selfish for needing to get away.

I guess I will always feel this struggle, this guilt, this sadness….I don’t know, I am still navigating this new me, me without her. I know I shouldn’t feel bad and that she would be so happy for me and want me to move on. But honestly how does one truly move on from the one person in their life who knew them better than anyone? The one person who has been with them before birth? Their literal other half? Once a twin, always a twin, I guess. No matter how much you are an individual, you are always connected to that person even if they are no longer with you. Yes, this is the worst part of being a twin, being without them, continuing life alone.

I didn’t mean for this post to be so damn depressing, sorry about that. I know I have been struggling mentally with this during this past month. I know I have some anxiety about not working full time right now, but I know I will find something soon. I guess my anxiety brings out all of this shit and I needed to get this out. I cannot complain, even though I know it seems like I am, because despite the struggle, I am thriving, I am figuring things out. I am happy here; I am glad I moved to NM. Everything will just be an adjustment, a lifelong adjustment.

Thanks for listening.

Just some of my favorite pics of us:

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We were all so cute an innocent……that didn’t last long

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Gardening in our backyard in NY….Aily looks so chill and cool and I look like a jackass with my mouth wide open.

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Aily and Snickers, she loved him so much!!!

 

 

The Next Chapter

August, 22, 2019

It’s been a little over a year now that I have been without Aily by my side. As promised to her, I have spent this last year traveling, grieving, healing. I have struggled a lot the last few months in trying to figure out my next steps. Where can I best move on, heal, become my own person? After many pro’s and con’s lists of different places I could go, I decided to move back to Albuquerque, NM. Never in a million years did I ever think I would move back, but I feel like this is where I need to be. I have a great support system out there, friends who are more like family.

I am very excited for this move, but at the same time, I am sad to leave. I have spent nearly 20 years here in the Pacific NW, and while it’s never truly felt like “home” to me, there are many memories here, many good friends, and my family. I have realized over this past year of traveling, whenever I came back home, I would be sad, depressed, knowing that Aily wasn’t here with me. It doesn’t help that my bedroom is still in my parent’s dining room, where she took her last breath. I never planned on staying at my parent’s house, but I knew I needed a big change, to restart my life, figure out who I am, without her.

I will miss my family and friends so much, but I know this is the right decision for me. As I embark on the next chapter of my life, I am hopeful to find myself, learn how to thrive without my twin. As my brother told me, staying here in Washington, I am merely existing, not really moving forward. He is absolutely 100% correct (for once, don’t tell him I said that), I realized staying here, I have not been able to move on, I haven’t allowed myself to. Being here, where the last few years are filled with sadness and heartbreak, I know I needed a big change, a new beginning.

Thank you all for continuing to follow my blog, my journey; this has been the best therapy for me, and I am glad I get to share it with my family and friends.

 

Some more pics with my Aily

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January 2018, in San Diego for our friend’s 40th birthday

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In NYC 2016 Aily’s attempt at taking a group selfie, none of us are feeling this picture

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June 2016 trip to the Zoo

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July 2017, me and Aily out to lunch, she drew the Frog, I drew the Panda

2nd Birthday Without You

July 20, 2019

My Dearest Aily,

This is our 2nd birthday apart, and it sucks just as much as the 1st one. It feels wrong celebrating this day alone. The knot in my stomach (no, it’s not my IBS), the sadness in my heart, and the longing to be with you again, hurts the most today. It will always be our birthday, never just mine. Even though we cannot celebrate this day together anymore, it will never change the fact that we came into this world together, even though we are leaving it apart.

When you left me, my world shattered into a million pieces, I have never felt so sad or so alone. You have shown me what it truly means to be brave, a warrior, my hero. I miss you every fucking day Aily, every God damned day, but today I miss you the most. I am starting to pick up the pieces, find my way. I am gonna be strong like you, make you proud of me until we meet again.

Happy Birthday Aily, me loves you, me loves you so much.

Just wanted to share some of my favorite pics of Aily

NY Oct 2017 2Dinner with Friends 6.2017IMG_0671me and aily 4th birthdayat aunt anna and uncle kevin

 

First Anniversary

June 1st, 2019

June 1st, 2018, 3:01 am, my life forever changed. My twin sister, my best friend, my other half, left this world, leaving me behind. I cannot believe it’s been a year; my heart is still broken; the wound is still fresh. It seems like only yesterday I was laying next to her telling her how much I loved her, how it was okay to let go, that she didn’t have to hold on for me. I repeated this over and over, as my heart broke into a million pieces and the tears streamed down my face. I thought being by her side as she lay dying in her bed, taking her last breath was the hardest part. I hate to say this even now, but it was almost a relief at the time, knowing she was no longer in pain, no longer suffering. The selfish part of me didn’t want her to go, didn’t want to be alone without her. I knew that she needed to leave me, to finally find peace. But nothing could prepare me for the loneliness, the gigantic hole that was left in my life, in my heart. I have amazing family and friends, I know I am not alone in this world, but I am alone without my twin. The toughest part in the beginning was the silence, not hearing her voice, her laugh, her yelling obscenities at other drivers on the road. It killed me knowing I would never see her face, her smile, her tears. We would no longer come up with silly nicknames for each other (we had come up with so many over the years), have our inside jokes, watch basketball together, go shopping, travel, all the things we loved to do together.

The last few years I had with Aily were difficult, they were a blessing and a curse. We were blessed to have spent every day together, travel, truly live life to the fullest. It was a curse because we always had her diagnosis hanging over our heads, waiting for her health to take a turn, knowing at some point it inevitably would. This past year has been the hardest for me, trying to find myself, trying to move forward without her. I did what she wanted me to do, I traveled a lot, visited amazing places, spent time with friends and family. I am grateful for that; I could not have gotten through this past year without them. I had a lot of dark days early on, but now the good days definitely outnumber the bad. I still feel lost, lonely, unsure of my future. I am struggling to figure out my next moves, what I want to do, where I want to live, what will make me happy. I still struggle with allowing myself to be happy, to move on. I don’t want her to think I have forgotten her or that my life is better without her. I know it sounds crazy, and she would want me to be happy and have a good life, but this is how I feel. There is an emptiness that can never be filled, a sadness that will never go away, a part of me that died with her. I knew this first anniversary would be shitty, I prepared myself as much as I could for this day. It is a harsh reminder of everything I have lost and everything I miss most about her, knowing we will never grow old together.

I think about her every day; she is in my dreams almost every night. I am thankful for that. But I would give anything to have more time with her, to not have to live without her. This is the shittiest part about being a twin, we came into this world together, and it feels so fucking wrong to leave it separately. Nothing could have ever prepared me for this.

Aily, you are with me every day, Me loves you, me loves you so much!

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Aily, fuck cancer, you are free from all this shit!!

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I bought her this shirt, she loved it!!

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Until we are together again Aily!! I miss you more than you could ever know!!!

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The Beginning of The End

May 15, 2019

This time last year Aily and I were shopping for decorations for my dad’s birthday (which is tomorrow). We went to the dollar store to get lots of silly stupid decorations to put up around the house for him. Ailish had suffered a severe GI bleed at the end of March last year and was in the hospital until the 2nd week of April. We thought we had cheated death and that we had a lot more time. Little did we know, time was not on our side.

When Ailish was hospitalized at the end of March with the GI bleed, we really thought it was the end. For the first time she cried to my parents and told them how scared she was, how she wasn’t ready to die. She went into the hospital on oxygen and was wheel chair bound due to lack of energy and ability to breathe on her own. She received two blood transfusions and a stent to open up the bottom of her stomach so the food could pass through to her intestines. She walked out of the hospital on her own two feet and was off the oxygen, which she had been on since February due to pneumonia and blood clots. She asked me, do you think I have a lot more time? Regretfully now, I said, “Yes, God wouldn’t have let you survive this, only to let you die soon.” Boy would I eat those words a million times over. Since she had gotten out of the hospital, she would wake me up early every morning, telling me of things she wanted to eat, places she wanted to go, things she wanted to buy. She would wake me up super early, 6 or 7 am as her brain was constantly trying to come up with new exciting things to do. You couldn’t shut her up. May 15th 2018 was no different. We woke up early discussing upcoming trips, places we wanted to eat, and things she wanted to buy. We went about our day thinking we had so much more time together, so much more to do and see. I didn’t see it coming, no one did.

May 16, 2019, we woke up and Ailish was strangely quiet, not saying much at all, not making much eye contact with anyone, seemed like she was just really tired. No biggie, I thought, she had chemo the weekend prior, so maybe it was a delayed reaction. My brother and I spent the day putting together a gazebo Ailish and my Dad had purchased so we could enjoy the upcoming summer outdoors. Ailish was still very quiet, almost reflective that day, not saying much to anyone. I think we all chalked it up to the chemo catching up to her. I cooked dinner and made dessert and even my dad noticed how quiet she was. Aside from that, nothing else seemed that off. She had been forgetful of some words, but it wasn’t much different than her normal chemo brain. We went to bed and just assumed things would resume to normal eventually. It was the next morning I awoke to a very quiet Ailish and thought, wow yesterday was just weird, not normal, compared to how she was after her last hospital discharge. We were watching a tv show and then I left to run errands with my brother. I came back and asked her what happened in the show, and she couldn’t verbalize a sentence. I knew then something was off. I started to point to things around the room, like a chair, or candle, or her cellphone, and she could not tell me what anything was. I knew she knew what it was, but she could not get the words out. I immediately called her oncology team and told them what was going on. They told us to get to the hospital to get MRI’s and CT scans to see what was going on. I thought it was the cancer spreading, but we later found out that she had 11 strokes, 10 small ones and 1 large stroke. Another hospital stay was in our future, but I thought, maybe we can beat this, we beat the GI bleed, she is such a fucking warrior, she’s got this.

After a week stay in the hospital on heavy blood thinners, her blood continued to clot, and it was towards the end of the month that the doctors told us that there was nothing else they could do. They asked her if she wanted to stay in the hospital and she said she wanted to go home. Hospice came into talk to us, explaining their services and how they would do everything to keep her comfortable. Two days after coming home from the hospital and being on hospice, she passed on June 1st. This time last year was truly the beginning of the end. The strokes as horrible as it sounds, were almost a blessing. After May 15th, she was no longer Aily, she didn’t really seem to understand or know everything that was going on, most of the time. I think that allowed her to escape a lot of the fear and anxiety of what was happening around her. I am grateful for that. These next few weeks are going to be rough and I am allowing myself more time to grieve and be sad. This first anniversary will definitely suck, I know, and I am expecting to cry a lot.

I didn’t write a blog post in April, I had meant to, but between traveling and trying to find myself, I just didn’t have it in me. Have I found myself, what makes me happy? Hell no, I have no idea what I am going to do yet, where I want to live, anything. I am just going to try and survive these next few weeks and get past the 1-year mark. I swear its nuts, sometimes it feels like she’s been gone forever, and other times, it feels like it was just yesterday. I need to do this one day at a time for now. Yes I know I need to get back into the land of the living, find a job, find a place to live, but right now I just need to get past these next few weeks, that’s all I can do.

I miss her so much every day, she is in my dreams every night and I wish everyday that she was still with me. Losing my twin is losing a huge part of myself, and I still have to figure out how to make myself whole without her.

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We always tried to find the fun in her treatments as much as they always sucked!!

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She was the strongest, toughest, bravest, person I ever knew!!!

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This is what I woke up to one of our last days in the hospital, I would give anything to have her still with me. God, I miss her more than anything in the whole world!!