Once upon a time I was someone’s older sister…now, I have discovered that a whole set of relations disappears upon a death.
What we think of as the roles that define us forever simply dissolve;
we lose a way of being, and are faced with the task of shaping
another life altogether out of what’s left. Some fashion absence itself
into a sustaining force, and in this paradoxical effort, I think, lies the
truth of what we mean when we speak of living with loss.
Three months before my brother’s death, he walked up to me and spoke quietly so that no one else could hear. Will you write about me? He paused, then elaborated, as if in response to my blank look. I don’t want to disappear without a trace. I listened to these disturbing words and tried to remain calm. Of course I will, I whispered, but don’t talk like that. He nodded his head and walked away, and for a moment he appeared almost peaceful.
– from 24 Frames (essay)