We were nearly finished eating lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. Josh (almost 8) managed to carefully stab two grapes with his fork and he said, “Look, a shish kabob.” That phrase reminded me of another familiar phrase that I hadn't heard in a long time. “Hey, how are ya, Bob?” It was a funny little thing my sister used to say, made funny by the way in which she said it, all together, like “Heyhowareyabob? Just a quirky, nonsensical phrase that was, for months and years thereafter, a reminder of her any time anyone recalled it.
I asked Josh if he remembered anyone saying that? I repeated it several times. He said, “No, who said it?” So I turned to Evan (12), do you remember anyone saying, “Heyhowareyabob?” “No.” I looked knowingly at Allie, sitting across from me. It was just another reminder of times lost; of memories lost; of you lost.
So, I told them it was “Sissy” (what everyone in the family calls my sister) that always said that, Heyhowareyabob! Josh's eyes lost focus as he thought, and he said, “I hope she's well.” Immediately Evan followed with, “I barely remember her.” It was all said innocently and honestly and it broke my heart to hear it.
Regardless of the reasons we leave and the places we go, things are never the same. I wasn't happy with the reasons my sister left or the places she has chosen to go, but I recognize those choices are hers. I'm not mad at her for living her life the way she chooses and I don't hate her for the changes she has chosen to make.
But, as I sat there in Ruby Tuesday's, hoping my sons didn't see the tears rolling down my face, I realized that I may not be able to forgive her for denying them the chance to grow up knowing her and loving her the way I have. I'm so sad that they have lost that. I wish they could hear her say, “Hey, how are ya, Bob?”
Not so well, is the answer. In their short, fragile memories, Bob is apparently dead.