It was a grey car ride. Melancholy filled my lungs as I sat in my pink pants and tunic shirt, staring out the window. It was mostly quiet, for no one really wanted to say anything. As we approached the Seattle, my mom began putting words together. Filling us in on what to expect. “...this is probably it…I think Abbie, Ralph and Cathy might be there...think about anything you want to say…” As we walked briskly up into that little house, my legs brushed the lavender bushes I had spend hours trimming with kitchen scissors. Making sachets. Dread hung in the should-be-cheerful, yellow living room. The kitchen chairs were pulled out in order that we could squeeze. I ate a lot of teriyaki food in those chairs. My Grandma came out from the bedroom wiping a tear. Her daughter, whom she had spent 43 years caring for, was dying. Years spent in doctors offices, conferences for parents with children with special needs, staying up at night. The official diagnosis was Rett Syndrome. My aunt was the longest survivor, the first in America to be diagnosed. Us Weisz women like attention. But not that day. The second I walked in a felt like I needed to leave. My body felt like it was being crushed by a encompassing weight. I sat stiffly, with my ever present ballerina posture, staring blankly at the petite brown recliner. I made her throw pillows to match that chair. I came home from the drugstore armed with nail polish and gave her the best pedicure. As everyone made small talk about who-knows-what, I simply sat. Clenching every muscle subconsciously. Us girls left to grab some lunch. The oxygen felt good. And we returned armed with smoothies. I still remember what I ordered at Jamba Juice. Shuffling into the should-be-cheerful, yellow living room, I sat again. And then, I went in. We went in.
Into that tiny little bedroom, I stood. I didn’t know what to do or say, or even if I should say anything. I remember running my hands through her hair. Rachel taking a picture or two. My daddy standing against the wall, talking about his sister. I don’t know how long it was. I don’t remember if I said anything. I don’t remember if I kissed her forehead, or said, “I love you.” I don’t remember. Finding myself out in the living room, my brain in complete standstill and all emotion frigid. Then they asked if I wanted to go in again, one last time. Say goodbye. And in that moment, all of the heaviness and sorrow collapsing in around my heart, I lost the battle. I said no. I found myself sitting in the hard, wooden pews at Westside Presbyterian Church just over a week later. Thinking about what I had to say about my aunt and the impact she had on me. In the moment a choose not to tell her those things, whether I needed to say one last goodbye to the woman who told me so much without ever opening her mouth. That day I choose to keep quiet about the impact of a beautiful soul.
And today, will I lose that opportunity again?