I have vivid memories of a particularly dense fog that loomed over the Salt Lake Valley sometime during 1985.
The fog seemed the most thick while walking to school in the early morning hours. I had to walk to school with my younger sister Rebecca. Our school at that time was a mile away from home.
Rebecca was scared and walked very slow. I was annoyed and frustrated at first. The next day I realized that her fear was very real to her and she wasn't just making it up to bother me.
She was terrified that her field of vision was so limited. Rebecca was afraid that something truly dangerous was lurking in the fog and it was coming out to get her.
When it rained she was noticeably happier and energetic. When the fog again returned it felt almost as though the fog had also settled inside Rebecca and not just around her.
The fog was so persistent that eventually Rebecca became acclimated to it and it seemed to no longer affect her so severely. She was different though.
It wasn't long after that time that a different hazard surrounded Rebecca; now she was in a difficult and more brutal long-term fog. She would have to fight for her life for many years.
Sometimes she was leery and cautious of the figurative impact of the dirt in the air around her, "the fog"; other times she was willfully oblivious of it.
I am now speaking of the negative influence of filthy neighborhood kids, other bad influences, curiosity, molestation, and eventually drugs and alcohol.
The grotesque fog that settled on Rebecca lingered for the next twenty years. For many of those years I was frustrated with her, not fully understanding the dangers that had crept into her life from that same nasty foggy mess that seemed to constantly be her around.
Then I understood the fears, her reactions, and the way she handled the traumas in her life. It was all very warranted, very real, very scary, and her various responses were just as unique as she was.
I loved her, I had many great times and created fantastic memories with her. I also have hated her and not wanted to be around her.
I have laughed with her, I have cried with her, I have learned from her, and I have admired her. I have prayed for her, I have picked her up when she was down. I have been down and been buoyed up by her energy and creativity many times.
I miss sleepovers, late night Phase 10 tournaments, licorice-straws in soda, and cutting out pictures of our favorite famous people from magazines. I desperately miss sharing music and making up songs at the piano together.
I hate the fog that is created by others. It scares me now. It makes me feel more vulnerable than I want to feel. The only way I've been able to navigate it emotionally, has been to pray fervently and to constantly seek out good things.
I believe in a Supreme Being, a Father in Heaven, and I believe that this Being can indeed literally pull the fog out of us, if we let him. Trusting and submitting to the Supreme is like experiencing a good rain; clearing up bad air.
Fog, otherwise known as the darkness created by poor choices by us and others must be allowed to exist, so long as there is agency. The power to choose is ours and those choices certainly can affect others around us.
But this filth that gets kicked up and carried around in the air does not have to exist inside of me if I don't permit it to. I have that choice.
Rebecca made such amazing and tremendous improvements the last several years; especially 2012 until her passing this last May.
At age 35, Rebecca suddenly passed away. Her body had been through enough and it had rejected the medications used to help her function... her body just simply stopped working.
Her death was a merciful thing, I think. Rather than living in extreme pain and somehow making it through, she is now free from her pains.
Her passing came at a high point in her life. What better time to go, right? Her fog has certainly lifted.
I can't help but feel happy for her. Though I miss her, I also feel that she is truly at peace. She deserves that.
In some way, I sort of feel like she is the one now that is leading me safely through the fog that comes and goes throughout life.
I believe that she has joined a team of cheerleaders that surround me. They keep me from allowing any particular dirtiness from creating a fog that's too dense for me to navigate through.
I admire the vantage point and understanding that the dead must have on the living.
I believe that when it is my turn to return to my Father in Heaven that created me, that I will be greeted by my cheerleaders; Rebecca, certainly first among them... knowing her, she wouldn't permit it any other way.
Writing this feels really good. It has been a healing reflection.