As many of you now, on March 25, 2010, my family suffered a great tragedy when my sister Dayna lost her life in a motorcycle accident. Since then, on each anniversary of her passing, I’ve cranked up tunes from the Grateful Dead and written a post in her honor. That changed this year.
March 25th came and went and, truth be told, writing a post about my sister was nowhere on my mind. Not because I was on a work trip, or because I haven’t been writing much lately. It’s just that, and maybe this is oversimplifying things, I thought more about the loss than writing about it. Outwardly, I managed the day just like any other. But inside, my heart broke from the moment I woke until the moment I finally fell back asleep.
My heart broke because, in a twisted way, time forced me to remember how terribly sad I was on that day. I pushed my memory to take me there, past the wounds that time seemingly managed to heal. In simplest terms, even if in subtlest form, I forced myself to find the sadness. To be clear, it wasn’t difficult to feel the pain, but that I had to summon it was what broke my heart more than anything else.
In the last few weeks, I’ve realized that when it comes to all this sad stuff – time is a good thing. We wouldn’t be able to function if that feeling of loss – the way we felt on that day – preserved and hung with us. I miss Dayna more than I could ever put into words. There are still plenty of days when the sadness hits me, sometimes out of nowhere but since that day I’ve grown – as a person and as a brother who misses his sister – and I suppose that’s what makes it all okay.
Time may cover wounds, but we all know that they are still there.
And I did something else a little bit different this year: I went back and read the words I shared at her service. It’s hard to actually picture myself writing these words – but in them it’s easy to remember how I felt. With each sentence, I can feel my stomach tighten, I can feel my laughter fight through tears, my head shake through acceptance. I know I wrote what I could and, with some hesitation, I share these words with you.
I’m Dayna’s brother, Dominic.
Last week we all suffered a great loss. Dayna was part of our family, she was our friend. Upon sharing the news of Dayna’s accident, many people expressed a sentiment that I have always felt toward my sister –if there were ever to be an immortal, it would have been Dayna. She lived her life with courage and adventure, and in her short years she experienced more in life than most would in a hundred years.
Friendship is something Dayna cherished, and once she found it she held onto it like a badge of honor; she guarded it with joy and compassion. It was the collection of friends and family that Dayna would always brag about. I am fairly certain this is why she obtained a ridiculous amount of electronic devices capable of showing pictures, which she did any chance she could. Most people would see a picture of her dog LaLa with a funny hat on within two minutes of meeting her.
It may be cliché to say that life is an adventure; but with Dayna lunch was an adventure. There was never a dull moment, nothing was ever predictable. Growing up with her, I am fairly certain I asked her one question more than any other – “Are you sure we should be doing this?” Without any hesitation, her answer was always “Yes”. She lived life without fear, and I am lucky to share the memory of many of her adventures.
We shared a love for a book called “The Alchemist”. In it, the author states that “Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the language of the world.” Dayna understood the world she lived in better than anyone else I know. She was courageous in all facets of her life, she never wavered when faced by a challenge, and fear was simply not part of her vocabulary.
I know that Dayna’s life wasn’t always easy, in fact at times, it pains me to know it was hard. I also know that she was incredibly strong, and that she always kept fighting to make the most out of any given situation. I know that many of you here in this room were there to lend a helping hand when she was down, you were there to help her when she needed a friend, a place to stay, or just someone to laugh with. I truly believe that our character is the sum of the people that we surround ourselves with. I will always be grateful to Dayna’s friends for helping shape the beautiful person that she was.
Dayna always found a way to make me laugh. One of my favorite memories of Dayna was when our family went to see the movie Titanic over a holiday weekend. When someone asked her whether she liked it, in all seriousness she said “No, it was just so predictable! I mean, I knew the entire time that the ship was going to sink!” She just had a way of invoking laughter in those she spoke with, whether intentional or not. Her humor could brighten any day.
She was a beautiful, warm, funny and kind person; but with sorrow we know now that she was not immortal, she was not immune to God’s plan. Our lives were enriched by her presence, and it is with great sadness that we must continue living in this world, without her.
Dayna, I promise to be inspired by your spirit, to open my heart with the kindness that you had in yours. I promise to not sweat the small stuff, to be adventurous, and to love with all my heart – exactly like you did. I promise to keep your spirit with me each and every day and to be thankful for the time that we shared together.
We love you Dayna, may you rest in peace and God bless you.
In Memory of My Sister Year One
In Memory of My Sister Year Two
In Memory of My Sister Year Three
In Memory of My Sister Year Four
Categories: in memory