Twenty years ago, you left. The human on this earth who could see all of me and nod in understanding. My person, my sister, from whom there were no secrets needed. No filters and no fears. Gentle guidance and sometimes a firm push. A woman who saw who I was before I saw it myself.

I was a teenager without you. A young adult. I had my first date, first kiss without you to tell. I couldn’t talk to you before prom and you didn’t have a number I could call when my heart was broken. You weren’t next to me when I walked across the graduation stage or processed down the marriage aisle. There is no one but you who would’ve understood how I felt being pregnant.

Your books line my shelves and yes, your nightgown is still in my drawer. I’m so sorry I lost your concert t-shirt. I wish you would yell at me for it. When I was in childbirth, I cried out for you and no one answered.

I am a woman at an age you never were. How would you guide me now?

My husband has never laid eyes on you. I do not remember your voice to describe to him. My children know you only in stories, their mother’s own personal fairytale.

I have lived almost my whole life without you, and never a day without missing you.

Your presence for me is in your absence. Only when I stand in worship of our God do I know we are together, sisters again. My husband says there is neither time nor distance in the spirit, yet even there I feel it.

It’s not enough.

I want to hold your hand, sleep on your couch, and borrow your hairspray. I want you to cut my hair again. I want you to abduct me from my life for a day and take me into yours like you always did. I want to bring Charlotte’s Web and read it next to you.

I am loved and protected; I am a sister who is deeply cherished, a daughter who is cared for, a mother who is valued. But today I am remembering that still, I am your sister. Time will not heal my wounds, only change the appearance of them.

When God created me, he made me to be your sister. Every day I live without you is not how I was made to live. I wasn’t supposed to do any of this without you and it is all partially broken for it.

I am always a little broken without you.

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Avanya Manasseh

I am an introverted and spirited writer, currently living the life of a social wife and mom. I live with my husband and three young children in New England.