Unexpect the Expected
Updated: Feb 20
Autumn fought very hard for her smile sometimes. She seemed to have seen, long before others much older than her, and some of us now, the hurt in the world. She pursued life as fully as she knew how. Her heart was immense. Her touch was tender, when applied. These posts always garner comments, and likes, and the expected attention associated with this type of news. For Autumn's sake - an off-grid liver, a poet, a fringe human on this planet - it's especially unsettling, for me, to write about her digitally. That said, it's the world we now live it, and she knew that. But, I'd rather everyone that reads this put energy into their own loves, and loved ones' lives, than spend too much time coming up with the right words here. Go. Take a step toward what makes you happy, against what may be holding you back. She did. She was braver than a helluva lot of us. She'd call us stupid - and far (humorously) worse - for staring too long at the screen, and our screens in general.
She was a Gremlin. The first I met. She preyed upon me like a ferocious little demonic cat when we were younger, and I probably owe some general reactionary skills to her. And when our brother, Jared, her twin, would add himself into the mix -- it was never an easy battle. They clung and hung from my limbs. They laughed and screamed and thrashed. They were a Hellion Team and I was their big brother. Many of my happiest memories involve the three of us. One that always comes back was our Friday nights waiting to go to Pizza Hutt - circa middle school for me, elementary for them. We would practically starve ourselves in our anticipation of the sacred Hutt; it didn't help that Mom and B took forrevvverrr getting ready to go each time. Together, Jared, Autumn, and I, joined in Gremlin-like pleading for them to hurry up - LET'S GOOOOO!!!
She, and Jared, are back-yard wiffle ball, to me. They are summer nights. They are cabin trips and camping trips. She kicked ass in soccer, she oozed cool, and she could bring surprise-smiles out of you. My singular, most burned-in-forever, image of her is standing shoulder to shoulder with her on the boat as Niagara fell and roared beside us.
She was smiling, surveying it all. It, that smile, was peaceful and it didn't need anyone to see it. It's the one we all need, and the one she would want for everyone. To my knowledge, she didn't know I'd seen it. It's the best smile, I can say without an ounce of hesitation, I have ever seen. She taught me to aim for that smile. My little sister.
We, the three of us, have been in different places for the second part of our lives now. There's all the feelings of wishes and couldas and shouldas - while the reality is simply the reality. We weren't, and this now is here.
Forward... is the only path and its something we all share. The only thing, maybe, that we really, truly, share. In your unique forwards, don't forget to take that step, and to love those you love a little more openly, but also - love each other far more than maybe you've allowed yourself to love. Age old call to action that it is... try it out if you haven't. Or again, if you've stopped. Everyone hurts, or is hurting, but that doesn't mean we can't flip the script and right our own course; it doesn't mean we can't care for one another; it doesn't prevent a better tomorrow. But be sure to live in the present as you march forward (it's probably the secret that she was on to). There are no right words, or perfect sentiments. None of what I've written here comes close - not in light of a summary of her, a summary or packaging of loss, which these posts seemingly aim to achieve. But, in her particular case, I somewhat think that's because she lived a life that wasn't about summaries. It was about being in the moment. It wasn't about, frankly, all the dumb shit we all fill our lives doing and worrying about.
I know these aren't the right words because
as well meaning as they are,
as uplifting as they are meant to be,
as much as they grasp to encapsulate her,
and as much as she'd tell me she'd appreciate them with her Natalie Dormer-esque grin --
wrinkled in her unique sisterly love,
I'd be missing something.
I'd know it. She'd know I knew it. It would be right there in her eyes.
Not r a w enough.
She fought for her smile - fight for yours. Fight from your heart. Take care of yourself. Do not dwell. Do not be told you can not or should not try. Get out there and live. Be raw.
I love you.