Ruby Red was born out of grief. She’s nine. She’s spunky. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She appeared out of the blue and stole the first line of my next novel. She took off running and I’ve been tagging along ever since.

It’s difficult to make sense of life after both your sister and brother die within a few months of each other like Ruby’s did. Her whole world turned upside down so Ruby turned to blogging to try and put things “right” again.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Moving Forward

Dear Loraine,

I’m writin’ this to you ‘cause I can’t just think what I wanna say. I’m sorry you left us but everbody keeps tellin’ me all kinda stuff like you’re better off in Heaven where you can breathe ‘n play basketball to your heart’s content. I don’t know why you had a lame heart ‘n I’m sorry you was so sick all the time. Grandma said you was growin’ up too fast. That you was thirteen goin’ on twenty ‘n you didn’t have time for us little kids. Grandma says we should be thankful that you lived to be a teenager ‘n didn’t die when you was a baby like them doctors thought. I member the day you turned thirteen—you was so happy ‘n proud like a movie star. But most times b’fore that you was mad ‘bout bein’ weak ‘n outta breath, mad ‘cause you couldn’t play basketball on a team. But why did you get so mad at me ‘n Rubin all the time? It wadn’t our fault we could run ‘n play ‘n you couldn’t. I’m sorry we was healthy. 

I wish I coulda told you how sorry I felt that you didn’t have a strong heart like mine. When I saw you on the basketball court…you know…after you died…was you showin’ me how healthy ‘n happy you are now? Or…did I just wish all that, ‘cause I never did see Rubin bein’ happy after he died. I don’t know what else to say ‘cept I wish you could come back with a brand new heart ‘n we could be better sisters. We always had laughin’ didn’t we? The best times we ever had was when we played the laughin’ game. Member? We’d laugh so hard till we could hardly stop. When we was laughin’ we was lovin’ each other…wadn’t we? Please say yes. I wish you coulda been a basketball star like Sue Bird. 

Please write me back if God will let you.


After I wrote that letter my hands was a shakin’ while I sealed it up ‘n pasted it to the back a Loraine’s last school picture that Mama had hangin’ on the livin’ room wall. I knew I had said everthing I needed to say but my heart felt so heavy I could barely make it back to my bedroom ‘fore I started cryin’ so hard that I got hot 'n my throat got raw 'n my sides ached like I’d been runnin’ for a hundred miles. Bondi ‘n JB jumped up on my bed ‘n tried to lick the tears off my cheeks. I clung to them kitties but I couldn’t stop my cryin’ or the heavin’ of my chest for the longest time. When I finally got through I knowed I’d always miss Loraine ‘n that she’d always be alive in my heart. I membered Jessie Mobly sayin’ that Ty was with God ‘n that was enough for her. I started believin' that that’s true ‘bout Loraine ‘n Rubin too.

I didn’t need to write no letter to Rubin. I still feel as close to him now as I did b’fore ‘n I knowed that the only thing that could be worse than losin’ Rubin was to never have had him in the first place. So I’m thankful he was my twin brother ‘n there’s not much more I need to tell him ‘cause he already knows all what’s in my heart—he took a piece a it with him.

Layin’ there on my bed with ‘n Bondi ‘n JB snuggled against me I imagined Rubin ‘n Loraine bein’ with God. I wadn’t afraid to live without ‘em no more but I also knowed I’d always miss ‘em. My heart started vibratin’ in time with Bondi’s ‘n JB’s purrin’ ‘n I fell hard asleep. When I woke up the sun was settin’ ‘n the sky was all pink ‘n orangey, ‘n red. My heart felt so light…like it was a balloon floatin’ up to the sky ‘n I knowed everthing was gonna be alright.

Our last picture together.


Beatriz McDavid said...

I can't get enough of this, Shelia! It's just lovely!

Judy Baker said...

How sweet. I believe it's good for the soul to write our thoughts out on paper, even if you shred it afterward. It helps.

Beth Camp said...

Just stumbled onto your heartfelt blog and hope you continue writing for I found this post both moving and healing. Keep dancing with the cats!

Shelia Rudesill said...

Thank you, Beth. Ruby just "happened" shortly after my sister & brother died 4 months apart last year. It's interesting when my writing takes off in unexpected directions. I'm glad you found us!

Shelia Rudesill said...

I know! I do that on FB--write a comment (usually on a heated subject) then delete it & move on!

Shelia Rudesill said...

Someday I'll be saying this about your blog and your books!!!!!