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A bird flew into the window, and now my sister is dead

Why didn't I see it before? Why didn't I notice?! This greyish stain on the large kitchen window - more like a glass front from kitchen to dining room. The stain is a little higher than eye level, I see it when I'm doing the dishes. Now I wonder how many days it has been there. I have seen it but not really noticed it. I can't even tell how many days it has been there.

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Yesterday the sun was shining, finally a day without fog. I was alone at home, the children at school and kindergarten, my husband on a business trip, in a country far away.
 
I wiped the table on the terrace, wanted to have lunch in the sun. I picked up my plate of soup and stepped on the same spot where I had stood a moment before to wipe the table. She lay right next to my foot. A lifeless body. Yellow plumage, blue head. I looked at her for just a second, then I ran inside.
 
She must have flown into the window.
 
This morning, after I get the kids out of the house, my husband calls. I can tell by the look on his face that something is wrong.
 
And then he starts crying and my world comes crashing down.
 
My friend Elizabeth Mata.
 
My sister Eli.
 
The person I am connected to in my heart and will always be connected to. is dead. Her lifeless body lies there, in a country far away.
 
I stare out the kitchen window and see that the grey stain has fluffy feathers. Bird feathers.
 
Why am I just realizing this now?
 
Death – stain – body – why did this chain of understanding take so long?
 
I can’t believe that the sister of my heart is gone! Her cheerfulness, her laughter. Her wild desire to become a mom and her all-encompassing love for her daughter and husband.
 
I look at pictures. This stuffed animal she sent my daughter for her birth; it sits in my homeoffice on the windowsill. I see that stuffed animal in front of me every day.
 
I see her in front of me. She is there. Inside me. But the pain is also there. And it grows.

Three days later...

When I don’t know what to write, because my head is spinning in disbelief and my heart is heavy, but needs to speak, I play with words. I write one, randomly, like this one
 
A
L
I
V
E
 
And then I add words, as they come to me
 
Adventure
Love
Imagine
Vulcano
Eli
 
And then I write, by hand, from the heart.
 
Life is an adventure. Always. But we forget and we get up in the morning, most mornings these days, and spool off a routine. As if life was something to get through, to master so that you arrive at the end of the day and can start all over again the next one.
 
Then something happens that reminds you, in a way you were unable to imagine just a minute earlier.
 
Life is short.
 
Damn short for some.
 
And we don’t know who these some are.
 
Until we know.
 
I know who they are. They are Elif and Aaka and now Eli. 
 
My love Eli. My friend and sister. Even my colleague. She was so much to so many of us. She was a volcano of love and joy and laughter and wits and caring and passion. She was a mother and a wife, a daughter and a sister. My sister in heart.
 
Aaka was a mother when she drowned. A friend, a colleague, a passionate health professional.
 
Elif was a mother of an unborn child when she was shot and killed by terrorists.
 
Life is an adventure.
 
All I can do is honor these amazing, wonderful women not by simply getting through the day, but by living and feeling every day to the fullest. By being truly alive.
 
Rest in peace dear Eli. I love you!

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Dr. Stefanie Koettl-Brodmann
stefanie@thewritingflow.com