Sister. I gave her that name when I could barely speak because I couldn't say her full name, so I improvised, and it stuck with her this whole time. She was always stronger, smarter, and more stubborn than I! But I needed someone like her to get it through my thick skull that our lives can be changed in an instant. And I thank her for that.
I remember when we would go to the farm field, and move the hay bales around to create forts and mazes. And the fact that she had a crush on my good friend Tony! (But he already knew.) We loved going into that field and playing in the creek. We would catch pollywogs and fish all day long. We had all the fruit we could eat-blackberries, apples, and cherries. OMG they were so fresh and good. And the best swimming hole ever! It was our secret. She hated the fact that we had to move from there. We moved so many times when we were young, but at least we had each other. She was 1 yr and 10 months younger than I, but it felt like we were joined at the hip when we were little.
Growing up she always found ways to get into fights at school. I either had to bail her out, fight right next to her, or protect her! And it was always with more than one girl! Big ones too! She never did things the easy way, and I never knew what those fights were about. Probably best to be kept in the dark!
I'll never forget when I went away to college, she told me she loved me and would miss me. I never knew that before. She was always so stubborn, and had to learn things the hard way. But it was her stubbornness and tenacity that pulled her through the tough times. After she had kids, she went back to school and just blew me away. I don't know how she managed a family, a life, and went to school at the same time. She amazed me then, and still does now. It took her a long time to find her passion, but she did. And when she did, she bulldozed through, letting nothing stop her from her goal.
She never gave up even when the doctors gave her the news that would change her (and her family's) life forever-brain cancer. Instead, she persevered through the chemo, radiation, and all those surgeries-and did it all during school breaks!!! And she still got straight A's and didn't complain. I was awed by her, and her strength to move forward, despite what she'd been through.
That was four years ago. I thought I was going to lose her last year, but she kicked Death in the a$$ again. I always knew she wouldn't go down without a fight. She finished her bachelor's in speech pathology last year, and got into grad school. She gave me the best birthday present ever in December last year-she was cancer free (then it came back in 2011). This was going to be her second year in grad school. She will always be my Hero.
(Hey Sis! I'll be looking and waiting for you in my dreams, and I'll be waiting to feel your presence around me. Now you can go wherever you want, whenever you want. And when it's my time to go, your lovely, smiling face is the first one I want to see. I love you so very much. P.S.-say hi to Dad for me.)