Dear Dena, by Dawnee Fuentes


I want the whole world to hurt because I’m hurting. It doesn’t seem fair that they get to go on. I want them to know that a piece of me died. A piece that made me cry, but loved me and made me laugh more often than not. A piece that was broken and denied me a goodbye. I hate the fact that I can’t remember the last time I saw you. I hate the fact that I can’t remember what our last conversation was about. I hate that we spent the summer having a stupid fight and wasted that precious time. I mostly hate that my kids are so young they hardly remember you and now they never have that chance.

Part of me hates you for dying so young. You called me Baby Sis and said you’d watch out for me and that we would grow old and have matching rocking chairs on a porch where we would sit together and talk about the things that only you and I would remember or think was funny. We were going to be cranky old women together. You told me we would fight years from now about who got to take in our folks when they were old.

I’m so sorry for the times I didn’t answer my phone because I was afraid we would fight. All those times you called late at night, but those were also the times when you said you’d watch over me and told me you love my kids like they are yours. I’m so sorry for having a fear you would go but never ever ever thinking it would actually happen. In my head it was just words, a distant possibility that could never be true.

We had so many likes in common and you never steered me wrong, except for Pink Flamingos. I hate the fact that that is an inside joke and that I have no one else to laugh about it with. I hate you for promising to grow old with me and that so many things in life are tainted now because they remind me of you. I played Skip-Bo with the kids and it hurt because we played it together and you gave it to me as a gift. I hate that I don’t know if it was an accident or on purpose but it doesn’t matter because you wanted to be gone. I resent that in one of your last calls to mom you told her not to tell me about how sad you were, even though I was sitting right next to her and that that was the last time I heard your voice. I hate that this pain will dull because it means life is going on, even though you are not here. And I hate myself so much because I want it to stop hurting and right now it feels like it never will. It will never be okay, because you never got to be a mother of the bride or groom and you didn’t watch Caleb graduate and you are so young to have left. You finally got your blue-eyed blonde baby with your grandson and he’ll never know you. He has your dimples, the ones you hated so much because everyone said they were cute. You would have told him they were cute every day.

I loathe the fact that while you were dying I was probably dancing to music with Fia and working on my computer. Just hours before I looked at Trivia Crack and wanted so badly to start a game with you but I didn’t because you stopped playing with me over that ridiculous argument, but I remember all the times you texted me and told me to play with you because you were bored. I loved those times and we’d message each other about the crazy questions we’d get.

Everything seems so pointless just knowing that I’ll never see that perfect smile I was so jealous of or listen to your voice over the phone knowing that we sound a lot alike. I have no one left to laugh or commiserate with over our childhood because you were the only one! How can I look at Aizik without seeing you standing beside me when I struggled to give birth? You were my birth coach and the person who told me I was strong enough. How scared you were and you held my hand and whispered to me and I knew you were trying to hide your tears from me.

I don’t want to clean my glasses because they hold the tears I shed when I first found out. I fell to my knees and wept on the floor. Somehow I always thought that I’d go first. I never thought there would be a day without you and now I want to bring you back so I can yell at you for making me feel this way and how wrong it is that you are gone. I know that if I had gone first you would have been devastated, because you loved me so much. I love you even more.

I want to lie on your side of the bed, knowing you used to sleep there. I want to sit on your sofa and remember talking there and how I always stayed later than I promised Tommy because I didn’t want to leave you. I want to go back and say I love you every single day. I want to go back to Disneyland when we got to venture off together. I want to return to that time we played Tomb Raider together and you made me laugh so hard I almost peed. There are so many beautiful memories. But I’m left with so many regrets now. We were going to grow old together.

Meet Dawnee Fuentes (Author D.D. Shaw)