Reality Knocks You Down
Four and a half months ago, I was running around doing my early morning errands. I was looking forward to nailing a job interview that was scheduled for me on that same morning. Little did I know that my morning will be filled with tears, sadness, fear, and anger.
In a split of a second everything changed. The reality that I lived with for so many years and that I feared and anticipated for a very long time came true that morning.
My sister was finally resting in peace.
I must say it took a lot of courage to write this piece. Tears roll down my face remembering the details of it all. It takes time to heal, and it’s still a long process that I cope with on a daily basis. After these few months have passed, I am now capable of writing it all down but I still can’t stop tears from falling.
A phone call changed everything for me that morning. Emotions rushed through my mind—indescribable emotions. No words can sum up the feelings I felt on that day. It suddenly hit me that I needed to block my emotions—to be the daughter, sister, aunt, and to support my family. I told myself to cry as much as I want in the arms of my husband (privately), but to block every emotion I was having. I was determined to stay grounded to support my sister’s kids, my parents, and my brothers, but deal with my emotions privately and alone after the funeral was over.
Everyone needs me now, I told myself.
Still, everything reminds me of her! Specific conversations, seeing her kids, hearing certain music, shopping, seeing hospitals, and so much more resurrect memories engraved deep down in my mind. No one can ever take them away from me. They are memories that I cherish so deeply!
Losing a loved one is something that puts things in perspective. It gives you a purpose to live life even more deeply and fulfilling. However, it’s different when you lose someone who dies from old age versus someone who was battling cancer for a very long time (eight years to be exact). It’s also different when it’s a sister, or when it’s a brother, a parent, or an aunt. Losing someone you were very close to is different from losing someone you would see only once or twice a year.
Whatever your relationship is with that person, each aspect of it is different, and your experience will be different. However, each aspect leads to the same process of grieving and healing.
In my case, my sister was everything to me. She was not just my one and only older sister; she was a best friend, a mother, an aunt, and so much more to me. I looked up to her a lot. She was someone who I shared secrets with, someone who took care of me when I needed her, and someone I cherished so very deeply.
Healing does take time. With love and support from my husband, I was able to talk about my feelings openly with him. I took time off for myself to grieve. I stopped searching for a job and I kept myself busy. I supported my sister’s kids as much as I could, and still do.
Grieving with tears and healing by taking care of myself are both things that I did. However, I couldn’t neglect the fact that I started to look at the world in a different manner. I envied those who still had sisters. I didn’t want to speak to anyone for weeks, not even members of my extended family.
People easily said things such as: “Stay strong, I know what you’re going through,” and, “We are here for you,” but the fire that’s burning in my heart flared even more when people said these things. No one understood what I was going through! In fact, reality was that no one I knew had a sister who was battling ovarian cancer for such a long time. No one I knew had a sister who lost the battle with ovarian cancer. How is it possible for anyone to understand what I was going through?
Truth is, no one does.
I didn’t expect them to understand nor feel what I was going through. I didn’t’ want pity.
On the day of her funeral, as I bid her body farewell, I felt a strange feeling that still gives me goosebumps. I felt the angels signaling in a mysterious way that the higher force is calling for my sister. I truly felt the angels were surrounding me, comforting me through my prayers.
I believe she’s in a better place, a place that doesn’t have pain, agony, suffering or hatred. This is what helps me sleep better at night and allows me to deal with it all.
My final note goes to my sister: I love you so much, and I’m missing you more and more every single day, Nadine. You’re always in my heart, mind, and prayers. May your soul rest in peace! Shine so bright! Spread your beautiful, white, feathery wings and strike the ground with your grace. Always be the angel surrounding me, our parents, and your kids. I love you!
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