2nd Anniversary

June 1st, 2020

I hate this day more than any other day of the year. It still feels like only yesterday I lost her, my best friend, my Aily. I replay this day over and over in my head, I can’t stop it, can’t control it. I still wonder if she was scared, if she knew she was dying, if she was at peace with it, if she was in pain….it’s haunting. I remember the moment she died….when Kieran told me to close my eyes….when I literally felt my heart shatter into a million pieces. I remember telling her I love you so much, it’s okay to let go, don’t hold on for me….repeating it until she stopped breathing…Jesus, these memories cut me like a knife, memories that will be with me forever, till the day I die. As I mentioned in a previous post, the beginning of the end happened on my Dad’s birthday in 2018, when she had the strokes and blood clots. Those 2 weeks from the strokes and her death were cruel, unfair, fucking awful to be completely honest. So, for these past two weeks I have been switching between the same emotions, anger, and sadness. Angry that she had to get sick and go through all this shit and sad that I am alone without my other half. I felt like I was losing my mind at times. I have lost myself, who I used to be…..I had to start over…

So many big changes for me this past year, moved back to NM, got my own place, and now a new career. I now work for the police department as an ID fingerprint technician. Finally using that degree!! For the record I really like my new job, I do miss cooking but, I find my new work genuinely fascinating. About a week or two into my new job I broke down sobbing. I realized that I am slowly becoming less and less of who I once was, and it scared the shit out of me. Aily has always known me as Chef Vani, that’s who I was both professionally and personally (she had her own personal chef in me) for all our adult life together. I started to feel like I didn’t recognize myself anymore, she wouldn’t recognize me anymore. I cried my eyes out on the phone with my dad (thank you dad, I know how hard it still is for you to talk about her), feeling so uneasy and guilty about moving on without her. I know, I know; she would want me to move on and be happy, but it’s not as easy as one would think. I know she would be proud of me and she always told me two things: when I went back to school to get my degree, I had the same kind of freak out, who am I if I am not a chef? She always told me, once a chef, always a chef. And as she got sick and we both knew it was terminal, she told me, once a twin, always a twin, no matter what. She was one of the smartest people I ever knew. Even though I know she is looking down on me smiling and proud, I still feel guilty and sad that I am no longer who I once was. Losing her has forever changed me in ways that are difficult to explain. While I am content and settled in my new home and life, I don’t know if I can be genuinely happy, if I ever will. I am not saying I am not pleased with my decisions to move and find a new career; I know this was what was best for me. But there is a sadness, a loneliness that never goes away. It’s like no matter how much I move on, how much I change and grow, there is that huge dark cloud looming over my head, reminding me of the hole in my heart, the loss of the most important person in my life.

I will be working at 4:01 am (3:01 am Seattle time), the exact minute she took her last breath. Now anyone who knows me, knows I really don’t like to cry in front of people (the exception of her Celebration of Life party), but I know it will be inevitable that the tears will fall while I am at work; I did, however, warn my supervisor, I wrote her an email explaining everything. I didn’t want her to think if she saw me crying at my desk it was because of the job. Really didn’t know the best way to address this, not huge into sharing personal stuff at work…but I felt like I did need to give her a heads up. This anniversary will be especially difficult as well, it’s my first one away from all my family, and since we are all self-quarantining, I will be completely alone. I know I will get through this….if I could make it through June 1st, 2018, (which to be totally honest, at times I wasn’t sure if I would), I can make it through anything. But today, today I am allowing myself to be heartbroken and sad. I will listen to sad music, cry, and grieve the loss of my twin and who I once was.

Ofrenda for Aily

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Me working graveyard, it was towards the end of the shift….nice red eyes ha ha

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some old pics of me and aily: first one is either 11th or 12 grade

me aily, high school

Me, Aily, Dad

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Aily and Michael in NY….now they are both watching over me

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I know I posted this last pic before, but it’s the last pic of Aily I got before shit went south and she absolutely loved her new do. She was so beautiful even when she was sick!

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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

LP Xmas party 2010

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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