Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Sister

Death visited our family once again this year. Cancer snuck in like a thief in the night and took our sister away from us. We were all stunned at the quickness with which she went. One day she had a headache, a trip to the doctor, a MRI and off for a biopsy. We gathered up our Mom, took her down to see her after the biopsy. A week later the year she had been given turned into a week. That Cancer was growing by leaps and bounds taking away the person she was. Back to the hospital she went. We gathered up our mom again and went for another visit all seven of her siblings. They discharged her with plans for a course of radiation/chemo. One treatment, a call for 911 and back to the hospital. Again we gathered up the siblings and as we were driving down to the hospital received a call she had passed away.

Tomorrow is her memorial and she will be laid to rest at a graveside service on Monday. Tonight we sat at our Nephews and put together a picture memorial for her. I saw a side of my sister through the many pictures I never knew existed. Oh yes, I knew she drove a paratransit bus for the past 28 years but little did I know how caring she was with her charges, how she worried about them now that she was unable to drive anymore and how she decorated her bus and dressed up for all the holidays. Yes, she and her DH rode a Gold Wing but little did I know, were part of a group and traveled all over the western states setting their tents up wherever. I didn't know she rode herself. There's a lot of things I didn't know about my sister. She was a caring, loving person and was never without a package of kleenix or pair of gloves. Her pockets told the story. She was a pack rat just like our mom. Who would keep their report cards from kindergarten but she did and every occassion she felt important to remember. Graduations, weddings, births, deaths and even all the things each of her siblings and children accomplished. I felt I didn't really know this person who was my sister, she seemed a stranger to me.

Somewhere in growing up and growing older we lost being sisters. We were each others Maids of Honor, alternated having kids, traded pictures and wrote letters when we both married servicemen and tranfered around the country and sometimes out of it. When I moved back home we never saw each other except for special occasions or the family picnic we hold each year. She came to my house once and I hadn't been to hers in 30 years. We never shared as we aged , we didn't connect like sisters will. We went our separate ways, raising our children, becoming grandma's and growing older.

I'm sorry I didn't know my sister better. We could and should have been friends for who are we without our families, our sisters, and brothers. I lost when I didn't take the time to mend whatever fences we had errected over the years. I lost when I chose to stay away because she wasn't the housekeeper I thought she should be.

In this past month while I watched my sister who I didn't have much use for wither away and die I'm ashamed that I based being a sister on whether or not she kept a tidy house. She was loved by her children, her grandchildren, her co-workers, friends and the people who rode her bus.

This death has been very hard on all of us, especially my mother. It's the first in our immediate family. She's already outlived all her siblings, my father, his family and now she's starting to outlive her children.

I know I need to be a better daughter and sibling to my other brothers and sisters. I need to allow them to be theirselves and not put restrictions on my feelings for them.


Carolyn said...

Dona, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Many of us are guilty of growing away from our families. I'm lifting you, your sister and your families in prayer. Please be kind to yourself.

QuiltMom said...

I am sure that your sister knew that she was loved by all of you- When we lose the people we love we always ask ourselves whether we should of done this or that. Be kinder to yourself.
Sometimes as adults we go in different directions from our loved ones- there never seems to be enough time to do all that we want to do.
It sounds like your sister lived a rich full life even though it was cut short by cancer.
May you find comfort together with your family and friends and may you celebrate the many gifts that your sister brought this world.
With much sympathy,
Rgards from a western Canadian quilter,

julieQ said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a poignant reminder for all of us. You are not alone, many families grow apart due to obligations and business and distance, but the thoughts are still so painful.

I am glad your sister was such a shining star and touched many in her life.


Carol E. said...

I'm so touched by this sudden and shocking sadness in your life, and your sharing of your thoughts. We all do things that we will regret. We have to forgive ourselves and then learn from our mistakes. It sounds to me that you have done exactly that.. maybe you need a reminder to forgive yourself, but you learned and in your sister's honor you are doing better. That is a great way to honor the kind and giving person that she was.

betweens said...

dona.. I stubbled on our blog and read of your loss..may healing hands surround you and comfort you. It sounds like you are still getting to know her and that in itself is a treasure you can share with your family. Deb

Mary said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister. I'm sure somehow she knows that you love her.

I have 3 sisters and while I'm pretty close to two of them, I don't keep in close contact with the 3rd. You remind me that it's important to make more of an effort, even if I'm the one who always has to initiate contact.

doni said...

Dona - I'm so sorry for your loss. You sound like a supporting family and I'm sure your sister felt the same thing - that time got too short. Be kind to yourself.

Patti said...

I'm so sorry to read of the loss of your sister. Something like this makes us realize how trivial most of our daily worries really are. And how important it is to live each day to the very fullest possible, and to let those we love know that we love them. I pray your family will find comfort together and in your positive memories.