Portrait of the artist as broken pottery

Last night, my sister D sent me a reply that I was dreading, but already expecting, when I asked her how she was doing.

“Not great,” she said.

I figured that, considering the time (way past normal sleeping hours in Manila) and the fact that she even messaged at all. D is closer to A, A being only a couple of years older than her. I’m the elder sister from a different mother, and in a different timezone at the moment. But something binds us aside from our father. Something that made me the natural person to go to at this time.

See, we both have depression.

My heart hurt as she tried to explain in vague terms what’s going on, and I tried to give her comfort and hope. I’m here, I said. It gets better, I said. I wanted to tell her so much more, but medicines kicked in and she was falling asleep. I worriedly texted that I love her, and bid her good night.

I hope that my love, and the love of everyone around her, is enough rope for her to cling to, in the crashing waves of her depression. But I know it’s not always the case, and that fills me with dread. I know how it feels like to drown in your sorrows, to feel like there’s no reason to wake up anymore. I had told her the same, I’ve been honest to D about my own struggles.

But still I cling to life, I cling to hope. If only to watch that TV series, or to hear that band play. If only to pester my friends’ cats, or to listen to my niblings’ shrieks of laughter.  If only to draw someone’s dog, or to help my mom bring in the groceries. If only to help my sister to see light again, or to be there with her in the dark.

Later, I will text my sister again. There’s a rose in full bloom in the middle of January here in my mom’s yard. It just might make her smile again.