Topic: My Sister's Blessing

My sister, Amanda, died last June from cholangiocarcinoma. I was with her some 18 months prior, at MCV Hospital, when the doctor gave her this diagnosis and the first of many disappointing prognosis. I joked with her that she couldn't get a normal cancer like everyone else -- she had to get the weird sounding one.
My sister showed such strength through all of this and that is no exaggeration. I still marvel at her ability to laugh and maintain her sense of self, even during the worst times.
She told a friend accompanying her to chemo one day that she may not be able to beat this disease...but that it may also be a blessing. And the blessing may not even be hers.
Well, I think about this statement often now, because a great part of the blessing was mine. I was blessed to be with her. I feel so grateful for the time we spent. The trips to Richmond for chemo -- when we'd both leave there so exhausted and drained - yet still find laughs in between the dread. She even had a happy birthday in the hospital that year. She called it life on life's terms and made the best of it.
I am grateful that I got to share her with so many friends who loved her so dearly. I developed a new understanding of the word compassion thanks to her and them. I still marvel how these people came around her to help, in anyway they could. Mostly, just to be with her and me.
I learned more than I wanted about the subject of grief...and anticipatory grief. This, for me, was the worst, because it took me out of the present and being with her. I had to focus on the "present" and take care of the matters at hand, that day and this helped me get through......it was easier said than done most days. Especially, when the prognosis would change so drastically and so would our expectations. She would get disappointed -- but always regain her "fight".
I think I learned alot about my own strength and lack of it. This was part of the blessing as well.
My heart goes out to anyone dealing with this disease and the pain it causes on all levels. Keep up the good fight, try to laugh alot and find your peace. Thanks for letting me share.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

A very, very big welcome to our wonderful family, minkyz.  I wish cc had never darkened your door, but I'm glad you've joined us.

The 2 aspects of your message which hit me the most strongly, apart from sorrow at your great loss, are "blessing" & "anticipatory grief".  I think I'm experiencing both of those much (if not all) of the time.  My sister's illness completely knocked me sideways, but the numerous blessings surrounding this incredibly painful experience are astonishing both of us.

I send my very best wishes to you as you grieve & process your loss. Please come back often & talk to us about anything & everything you may want to.

Julia

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Re: My Sister's Blessing

minkzy,

I don't often read the "In Remembrance" posts as I have inoperable cc,  but for some reason I clicked on yours.  I think it was the word "blessing" that drew me to it. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts/feelings about your beautiful sister and the time you had together. 

I truly believe God can bring good out of horrible circumstances.  I hope I will always realize my blessings and be a blessing to others, like your sister.

Kathy

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Dearest Minkzy, welcome to our wonderful family. That was a beautiful letter about your sister and I believe the biggest blessing was that you had each other for a sister. I know it sounds absolutely bizarre to call a disease like CC a Blessing, but it really is in so many ways. I also like her expression, "Life on Life's terms". Excellent. I am so very glad that you shared your story with us and I wish you many blessed memories!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

It is always so heartening to read letters such as Minkyz's. The beauty of her words in describing her relationship to her sister is wonderful but also her ability to see the positive in the experience of dealing with a devastating illness and not be diminished by it.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Dear Minkyz,

I agree with everyone else. What a great attitude.  Thanks for posting this and sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.

Darla

"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

What grace and acceptance you and your sister demonstrated. God has truly blessed both of you with each other and in sharing this cc experience with all its ups and downs, you two made the best of it. May your blessings abound in 2011. I know you will always miss your sister, but you carry her in your heart. Blessings, Susan

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Thank you for your kind responses-- each and everyone of you! I appreciate having the opportunity to share.

Mark

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Mark,

You have made a beautiful tribute to your sister and her life in your post and I am sure that anyone who reads it would feel as I did--that I would liked to have known her and that the world is a lesser place without her. You also made me understand more clearly exactly what I went through with my mom, thank you.

Patty

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Mark,  Your message gave me goosebumps. Your sister was truly remarkable and so are you. Thank you for sharing your story it gives many of us comfort.  Nancy

Loving my husband from afar.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Thank you for sharing such a lovely remembrance of your sister.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Minkzy, thank you for sharing your story.

It seems that our situations are quite similar and it is lovely to hear you talk about times with your sister so fondly, even at the most challenging of days. It seems you shared a very similar, close relationship with your sister and the ability to pick up each others spirits and comfort each other even when things look desperate. It sounds like your were an incredible support to your sister and you shared that unique level of understanding for each other that can often been found between siblings.

My only sister died of BDC at the age of 27 last August, less than 6 months after original diagnosis. She too put up an amazing fight, never gave up and kept very strong throughout treatment.

The loss of a sibling is irreplaceable and something I can sincerely sympathise with. While I am truly sorry for your loss, thank you for posting; it is of some comfort for me to hear of someone who has been through a similar situation and is so positive. I feel like the grief will be a very long journey which I am only just beginning, but that is perhaps a topic for one of the other forums.

Thanks again, your sister sounds like an amazing woman and I wish you the very best.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Judy's final breath was taken at 5:26 AM, March 9 2011. This has been a terrible final week. I am so glad Judy is no longer suffering. I will miss her more than I can say. Thank you to everyone for helping me along the way.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Dearest Tommy, I am so very sorry to hear about Judy but then again she deserves to be at Peace. I know it will be hard at first but your life will go on with  3  daughters who will make you both very proud. Judy seemed to be a remarkable woman and I am positive she felt the great love around her through this awful journey. She will never be far in spirit and her love for all of you.
  From a book of blessings called "Benedictus" by John O'Donohue
When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
Your heart has grown heavy with loss.
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Dearest Tommy,

I am so sorry to hear that your beloved Judy has passed away.

There are really no words I can say to make it better but I know that watching my Dad the last week of his life was heartbreaking and knowing he is now at peace helps the pain a little.

The next few days will be a blur with orgainising the funeral etc, but you have 3 loving daughters and the love you share will give you the strength to get through the days and weeks ahead.

Sending love to you and your family

Take care

Andrea

Devoted Daughter to the most wonderful Dad a girl could ask for.  Sadly lost his battle on 19.02.11, peacefully in the arms of Mom and I.  As requested by Dad "we will keep on smiling".

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Tommy,

I am so sorry for your loss.  Try to find some comfort in knowing that for Judy the fight is over.  She is no longer in pain or suffering and has moved on to a better place.  She will always be with you in your heart and memories.   My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Love & Hugs,
Darla

"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: My Sister's Blessing

Tommy, So sorry to hear of Judy's passing but glad the pain will be no more. She sounds like a remarkable woman. I am glad you have your daughters close by for support. Take care of yourself. Nancy

Loving my husband from afar.