There are days when the loss of my sister Deb hits me like the proverbial ton of bricks. It isn’t like I haven’t lost very significant people in my life before so I don’t know if I’ve just forgotten how hard this can be. I’ll be cruising along just fine, and then a word, a song, a comment, a picture or even a scent will slam me back. It takes my breath away, and my heart seems to skip. I *know* where Deb is. I have no doubt she’s taking charge of all those angels up there. But the simple fact of the matter is that she isn’t here. She won’t be sending out any emails reminding us how many more days there are until Christmas. I won’t hear her laughter. I won’t see the joy and smile in her eyes as she watches her nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. I miss her. I just miss her. We knew she was going to be leaving us. The end seemed almost a blessing in some ways, especially for her, after fighting so long and so hard. But the moment her casket was lowered into the ground, it finally hit me that she was truly gone.
Deb bravely fought cancer for over five years. She smiled through most of it, at least when I saw. She kept us going. She encouraged us. Sarah, my niece, told a story at Deb’s funeral about being “brave girls”. We all laughed at the story….it was so Deb. I have, however, carried that story with me every single day. Life has not been fun this year. There are days it seems too much just to get up,much less accomplish anything of value. Sometimes the challenges overwhelm, the future is full of fear and uncertainty. Some days, I just fall apart and am convinced I cannot go on. Many days, the slightest task seems monumental. But with the memories of Deb, even those ton of brick moments that bring so much pain from loss, I hear her remind me to be a brave girl. It may not turn my day around, but it gives me the courage to pick up and keep going.
None of us has the guarantee that life is going to be easy and wonderful. Painful, hurtful, horrible things happen to good people every single day. I am guilty of more than once this year asking “why me?” Aren’t I a good person? Shouldn’t karma be turning my way? Why do so many bad things happen all at once? No one is out to get me. I am not being tested. I will get through. I will be a brave girl. And I hope and pray with all my heart that I instill that strength and courage in my daughter that I so admired in my sister.