I came across this picture that was taken 4 years ago. A flood of memories come to my mind as I remember finding out my older sister was going to have to battle cancer. Fear, sadness, worry, and devastation were constantly lurking on my mind and yet there was one emotion that overpowered them all. LOVE! Even though I am the younger sister, I wanted to be her protector and take her into my arms, keep her from all of the evils that this destructive disease would throw at her.
We spent many hours in the hospital room together and I recall an evening when I knew that I needed to not leave her side. As the sun set I tucked her into bed but knew that I would not be sleeping, as she was fragile. Her health seemed to be on a decline and without many answers. I laid in the dimly lit room and drifted off until an alarm would alert me that her nasal tube had fallen out and her oxygen levels were decreasing. Each time as I carefully placed the tube back in her nose, I could hear the words, “Stay with me.” It wasn’t a loud voice, just a quiet thought reminding me that I needed to watch over her. The alarm went off throughout the night nearly a dozen times and each time I felt the peace of my Heavenly Father reassuring me that all would work out.
My sister’s hospital stay that was suppose to be a surgery with a 5 day recovery, turned into a 55 day life endurance marathon. It was a battle that my sister never saw coming. Her husband was a rockstar throughout this challenge and my younger sister and I filled in whenever he or my parents needed a break. We trimmed and painted her nails, washed her hair, wrote letters to her son on a mission, read stories together, talked about her children’s activities who were at home, watched tv shows, and tried to make the experience as pleasant as we could. I may have even snuck in a cherry-limeade from Sonic, when she wasn’t suppose to drink anything but clear liquids. The delicious heaven stained her teeth and lips for the next few hours and I’m sure the nurses knew that the sisters were up to no good!
After months of poor health, medications, radiation from scans and x-rays, and starting oral chemotherapy, my sister’s hair started to thin out. We scheduled a date to go wig-hunting and the day before our appointment, I had such a strong burning within me that I knew I needed my sister to know that no matter how hard the road was going to get, that I would do anything to be there for her and show my support. The next afternoon she showed up at my house for our outing that we never dreamed we would ever have to take as sisters or at least not until we were in our 70’s. She walked into my kitchen and there I stood with a beanie on my head and held up a sign that said, “God made us sisters… Love made us friends.” After revealing my newly shaven head, her emotions raced across the board and we both hugged with tears in our eyes. It wasn’t about if my sister lost all of her hair, I wanted her to know that I was “all in” no matter what happened.
Sisterhood means never being alone. There have been innumerable occasions where my sisters, as well as many other women who I call my sisters, have come to my rescue and have loved me through the most difficult times. They show up with meals, flowers, give children rides, invite to girls’ weekends, listen to crazy ideas, bring over groceries, laugh when you need to laugh and cry when you need to cry.
“When women support each other, incredible things happen.” I am so grateful for all of my sisters here on this earth and those that have passed. Together we can inspire one another to let our lights shine, for we will and can make a difference. Keep fighting sis!
Much Love, Heather