I don’t know where to begin so I will pick a random spot and go from there.
This is a picture of my sister. She is three years younger than me. She loves to remind me that she is younger. I am much shorter than her so many people believe me when I tell them that I am the younger one. That pisses her off to no end. Truth is it takes forever to even convince them she really is my sister.
I often describe us as the movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito. She is the Schwarzeneggar character that ended up with ALL the good parts, and I am like the Devito character that ended up with all the left over awful stuff. That pisses her off to no end too. I think I like pissing her off. After all we are sisters, so it is a right of passage.
As we grew up we drove each other nuts in school and at home. As we really grew up and became adults and wives and mothers we became closer and closer. We actually became friends.
I remember when I was moving and she came over to the house. I had a whole box of empty hangers, Pampered Chef pans and other odds and ends I wanted her to have. Mostly I didn’t want to pack them. When she saw the box of hangers she started to cry. My moving away was becoming a reality. One she wasn’t ready for. It was also the first time I had doubts about leaving AZ. I missed her so much and we were in the same room.
She came to visit me once in WA a few months after we moved here. Mom came too. It was a lovely surprise that my husband kept from me. It was a very short trip. Over time it seemed like it would be the only trip.
After my diagnosis in Nov. 2015 I called her to tell her the news. She was in denial and told me she would believe it after I get my test results back. I told her three times that the tests have all come back. I had cancer. It took some talking but she finally realized all the tests have been done. I was telling the truth.
I recall one morning I was getting ready for work. I had this overwhelming depression settle on me like a blanket. I was never going to see my sister again. I was trying to open the closet door and it was stuck. I had to pull and pull and pull. I didn’t have the strength because this blanket of sudden depression was too heavy. I started to cry. It was the first time I had cried. I accidentally woke Keith up. He said it’s okay to cry it is really scary. I told him I wasn’t crying about the cancer. I was crying because I knew in my gut I would never see my sister again. Oh how thankful I am that my dreams were wrong!
As the whirlwind of scheduling took place for what was next, I kept her up to date. Mastectomy was on January 15th.
It turns out that it was a three-day weekend for her. She is a school teacher and Monday was Martin Luther King day, no school. She called to let Keith and I know she was flying out for the surgery. I was so excited!! Even if we only got to see each other for a short time I get to see my sister.
This picture is taken the day before my surgery. We are sitting in the waiting room of the plastic surgeon doing my reconstruction after the mastectomy. After this I had my friend Julie (you will learn more about her later) come and meet her. I sometimes see my sister in Julie. Then we went and had a lovely last meal downtown at a local restaurant that has history on display. You can even go into the middle of one of the old smoke stacks. I was thrilled to share this place with her. This moment with her.
The next day we had to be at the hospital early. When she was allowed she came into the hospital room and visited with me. While I was under the knife, 8 and 1/2 long hours she sat with Keith. They went out to breakfast together. They watched television in the waiting room together. They lunched and “dinnered” together too. He needed someone there. My sister was there. Right where she needed to be.
When I was released from the hospital and home again she visited with me but felt like she wasn’t helpful. She was, she really was.
I have a little white board in my bedroom. She wrote the words ‘Today is’ on it for me. Every time I changed the date I smile. I love seeing ‘Today is’ in her handwriting.
Blessed to have her as my sister. Blessed to have her as my friend. Blessed that she was right where she needed to be.
What is love? A sister…..that is love.