In Memory of Kay Kim's Blogs

The Day of My Sister’s Funeral & ee cummings


 

( For Kay and every single woman who has ever been caged )

~~~~~When the devil executed my sister, it was like any other day.

I was mowing the lawn, listening to Ken Follett’s, Pillars of the Earth on my headset. I was at the part where the young boys in the castle were throwing rocks at poor, innocent cats just because they could. I was baking mandarin chicken in the oven for dinner. The sun was warm and luminous upon my face.

I received the call at 5:15 PM. “Did you hear…did you know…He shot…Mike killed Kay…Your sister K-k is dead….”

In that instant, the light splattered to the ground in ugly, yellow puddles. I dropped to my knees, lost my breath, and something deep from within my core reserved for dark moments like those, punched me directly to the pit of my stomach

“Oh, God, God, God help me.”

I was wearing a red tank top with Lady Gaga on it and Old Navy shorts. My hair was in a tight bun on top of my head. Why do I return on irrelevant, insignificant things? Was this part of the mourning process, the numbing process, where I was supposed to remain unbroken, not place my head inside an oven, or deposit rocks inside my pockets to drown myself in Lake Superior?

One is never equipped for something of this magnitude, this huge transformation. I recall wondering why God doesn’t give warning, blow trumpets, shoot lightening, send verses, prepare us for these disasters before they happen.

However, thinking back—I now see He did.

A couple months before my sister’s murder, we had gone to a film called, “In Her Shoes” a book originally published by Jodi Picoult. The older sister recited a poem, I Carry Your Heart With Me by E.E. Cummings to her younger sister at a family gathering.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

I nudged Kay hard in the ribs and whispered, “You will be reading that at my funeral.”

She smiled, almost knowingly, “No, you will be reading it at mine.”

As you probably figured out, I read the poem at her funeral, or at least, I was told I did by several people who were there. I can’t seem to recollect much about the day of her funeral, except an insidious heaviness of a million sad stones and standing at the church podium like someone from the walking dead. Yes, in case you don’t know, one can live with half a heart, a segment of a soul.

I had gone to Kohl’s to buy a dress. Why did a dress matter when my sister had been murdered? Inside my mind, or was it outside my mind, I continued repeating, “My sister is gone. My sister is gone. My sister is gone,” as if I couldn’t believe it myself, as if I had to remind myself of this new, absurd, inconceivable life that was thrust on me, my family, the universe.

While in the car, I asked my husband, “Did he really kill Kay? Is this really happening?” When he answered yes, I wept like a baby all the way to our destination until he pulled into the parking lot.

Wiping the snot from my nose, I asked,” Well, if this happened” “Why am I still breathing?” I couldn’t understand how everybody could keep moving, how the earth could keep spinning, how the clock could keep ticking. I finally understood what Auden meant when he said, ‘Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking…silence the pianos.’ Sometimes you must experience something before you truly comprehend.

The day of Kay’s funeral, the sun shone brightly in the sea-blue sky, the birds sang songs, butterflies floated in the garden, and the blood of my childhood flowed through my veins reminding me I was still alive.

I sat at the mirror lining my eyes coal-black, smeared on bright lipstick, brushed and sprayed my hair. I wore nylons because that’s what people are supposed to do, how people are supposed to dress. All for nothing. None of these tasks made sense, had any meaning when my sister was almost in the ground.

So.

I recited the poem at her funeral instead of something by Kafka or Plath, which seemed more fitting, more real. Before I read, I gazed out into the crowd of people, so many people waiting, like blurred negatives of shadows and shapes and colors. Some were blotting their cheeks with Kleenex, crying, staring at me with great pity, and presumably relieved I was standing there instead of them.

“My sister is dead.” I finally said. “Her husband killed her, and she is dead. And I don’t know where to go from here.”

“I Carry Your Heart With Me” was carved on the gray marble of Kay’s headstone. Who could’ve imagined how significant E.E. Cumming’s words would’ve become? Who could’ve imagined the man who ate Sunday dinners with us would, in the end, stop her beautiful heart from beating?

I couldn’t visit my sister’s grave for a long time, not in that place, not with her bones covered inside the cold Minnesota soil. However, after several months, or was it years, I awakened from another sleepless night, turned to my husband and said, “I’m ready. I’m ready to go see Kay.”

We drove to Oneonta Cemetery early in the morning. We searched the long and winding paths, like the yellow brick road without a wizard to guide us—stone after stone, row after row, name after name. I couldn’t believe how many dead people were crowded together like lost, lonely sisters.

“Here,” I said.” Stop. Stop, here she is.” Next to her gravesite were pink hydrangeas’, scattered white daisies, notes of stationary paper, and somebody had placed a “stop domestic violence” bracelet near the date of her death. It was liberating and heartbreaking at the same time, like something light and dark mixed together.

“Did you notice the row she’s in?” My husband asked. I looked past the lines of marble to the left corner of the trail and laughed when I noticed the wooden sign. I’m not sure if this behavior could be characterized as a form of insanity, or the beginning of a spiritual awakening.

But I laughed and lifted my hands into the endless blue sky because she, my beautiful sister, was in row E. E.


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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Elephants Child
    November 17, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring.
    Today, and every day.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    November 17, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    I love row E.E. There are no coincidences. Beautifully written Kim. Just pulls at my heart.
    Debbie recently posted..Cherry MuffinsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto Robinson
      November 18, 2018 at 7:18 am

      No coincidences in life, Debbie…
      Only learning experiences, awakenings, and rising. xxx

  • Reply
    Samara Rose
    November 17, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Kim. I wish this never happened. To you, to Kay, to anyone.
    I’ve read your work frequently. I’m not always the best commenter but something moved me to comment today. Maybe row EE. Maybe the poem. Maybe your own gorgeous writing. Maybe the fact that my son’s birthday is November 19th.

    I love you, Kim. I understand your pain. Thank you for letting Kay live on through your words. I know it’s nowhere near enough, but it’s still a wonderful gift you give us.
    Samara Rose recently posted..I Quit Drugs and Now My Life Has No JoyMy Profile

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto Robinson
      November 18, 2018 at 7:19 am

      And you are a gift to me, Samara. I don’t think I’ve ever told you. xxx

  • Reply
    lisa thomson
    November 17, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    As I wipe the tears away, I smile with you, Kim. I can’t even begin to imagine the grief and pain of your loss. E.E. Cummings, I love that poem so much. I recall watching that movie too and it’s still one of my favorites. Row EE. Yes. Rest in Peace, Kay.

    Kim, I hope this one will be in your powerful book to be. xxoo
    lisa thomson recently posted..Six Degrees Of Separation From the NarcissistMy Profile

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto Robinson
      November 18, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Lisa,
      as always, you inspire and encourage me w/ your words. xxxx

  • Reply
    Green Global Trek
    November 18, 2018 at 2:32 am

    So beautiful sad and touching all at the same time. Oh my heart breaks for you Kim. Strange though isn’t it, the details we remember during times of pain and grief. I remember strange details about my brothers funeral too. One of the things I regret the most was that I listened to my mother and took a tranquilizer before the funeral… I never ever take them. And I felt like I was sleepwalking. She wanted to makes sure we would behave appropriately. I would rather have let my grief be present and visible.

    EE ~ incredible. So much love to you. It doesn’t get easier so I won’t say that to you… but I did finally come to accept that my brother chose to end his life. That is very different to having been murdered. VERY different.

    Your sister is with you always, an angel watching over you.

    Peta

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto Robinson
      November 18, 2018 at 7:23 am

      I understand about the tranquilizer. Even now, I want to feel everything. Often, that pain makes me write, makes me get up in the morning!
      Sorry about your brother. We incorporate those losses into our lives. Never forgotten. Missed forever.

      Much love, my darling, Peta. xxxxxx

  • Reply
    angiesrecipes
    November 18, 2018 at 3:41 am

    So beautifully written that it hurts, Kim. Kay lives forever in your heart!
    angiesrecipes recently posted..Beef Liver Paté with PistachiosMy Profile

  • Reply
    Debbie
    November 18, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Ah, Kim, I’m weeping with you at such a senseless murder (but then, ALL murders are senseless, aren’t they?). This is such a powerful post. I almost feel as if I knew Kay. I can’t fathom the heartache of losing a sister — how comforting that she was able to send you a sign though! Hugs to you from gray and cold Illinois (and I hope you’ll be surrounded by family for Thanksgiving!)

    • Reply
      Kim Sisto Robinson
      November 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

      Debbie,
      I’m surrounded by lots of love & GOD …
      this is the reason I am still here.
      Love to you and your family.
      Happy Thanksgiving! xxx

  • Reply
    Nan @ lbddiaries
    November 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Another poignant memory. I think sometimes there are little signs around that help us through. My mom passed March 9. The day before all was normal. The next day, I came home from the hospital, stopped by her house and her purple irises had burst forth, blooming into beautiful color. I lived down the hill from her house on a parallel road and my irises had not bloomed at all. Later that day, the eagle that had moved into her huge pine tree a few days before my father died (4 years earlier), was sitting on my clothesline pole. The eagle had raised a family in those 4 years and was always around. There were no others in the area. I captured several pictures of that beautiful bird as it just stood there on the pole, all day, several hours before it disappeared and we never saw it again. It moved in a few days before my dad died (he’d pointed it out to my mom) – and moved on the day my mom died.
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  • Reply
    Mandy
    November 18, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I cry every time I read this – my heart hurts so much for you too.
    Love and hugs to you from Nairobi.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • Reply
    Dad
    November 19, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    well written Kim, we will see Kay again we know that for sure. Makes things a little easier to know that.
    Love You So Much
    Dad

  • Reply
    Marie Kléber
    November 20, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Your words brought tears to my eyes Kim. When you talk about Kay, I can’t help but let them flow.
    I remember the movie. I remember the poem and I remember how much it touches me deeply every time I read it.
    Kay lives in your heart forever.
    I love the row E.E – message from the angels for sure. Kay is one of them, in peace and smiling at the stars.
    With much love from Paris.xoxo
    Marie Kléber recently posted..ConfusionMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jennifer Wolfe
    November 24, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Your writing becomes stronger and clearer and more poignant with the passage of time…thank you. xoxo mamawolfe

  • Reply
    Lady Fi
    November 25, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Beautifully written and oh so heart-wrenching.

  • Reply
    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother
    November 27, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    This is so beautifully written. I got goosebumps reading the E.E. Cummings twist. Wow….

  • Reply
    Christine Carter
    December 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    You always suck me in with your words, your details, your depth. My heart breaks more every time I read your poignant story. The E.E. is absolutely profound. Ah, glorious!

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