Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Personal Tragedy

My sister, Lora, died yesterday from complications of surgery. The anger and grief is unbelieveable, and overwhelming. I can't go into details about the surgery under the advice of our attorney, but that is a clue in and of itself.

My sister was a bit of an unconventional person too. But not in the same sense I am. She was more of the kind who did things to get attention rather than set a precedent. However, she was a loyal friend to many, a devoted mom to her beloved pets and a wonderful crossing guard for the kids at Fernwood. That was her best quality, her love of kids and animals.

One of the hardest things you have to do in the midst of grief and shock, is plan a funeral for someone who should have been here to help with our parents. Dad died less than 3 years ago. That grief is still working itself out. With a younger person, thinking about your own wishes for your memorial is not a top priority. Nor do you talk about it except in an abstract way, and only in passing. It is hard to decide what to do, what would she like, how does she want to be memorialized? Each of us has different ideas because we have different memories.

Just as important, is how her friends remember her. Family you are stuck with, you are born into a collection of people who share the same blood and you don't get a choice of who they are. But friends; friends are people we choose to be with, for many reasons. People you meet on this life's journey, can come or go without obligation. So when someone becomes a friend, it is a choice made mutally that fills a need for both people. Sometimes they last a lifetime, sometimes just because you work together, sometimes during the duration of a difficult time, sometimes just a few minutes while waiting for a bus. Sometimes friendships are forged in good times and reinforced during hard times, and other times fractured by hard times. Regardless, friends are precious because of the process of becoming, and staying, friends. It's something you both, hopefully, nuture and grow.

My sister has friends who love her, some for a long time, others more recent. All are devastated by her death. There is nothing worse, to me, than to have to tell her friends that she is gone. They don't understand, it is too incomprehensible that someone as full of life as Lora (Lori to her friends) will not be here anymore.

At the same time, her loss reminds me that life is unpredictable, fragile, and shorter than we want. So take this lesson to heart, live like today is the only day you get, love, laugh, and be sure to tell those you care about, that you love them. Don't wait because you think you have all the time in the world, or its hard to say those words. You don't, and everyone wants to know they are loved by someone. You would.

I love my sister. I miss her desperately and I want her back.


elizinashe said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my brother years ago,he was barely 20 and I was only 15. No matter the age or circumstances sibling loss is terribly painful. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Bernie said...

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear this.

And sorry I didn't see this sooner. By now you have probably done a funeral of some type, but if not, my suggestion is to do something where the friends and family you speak of can talk about her and share the different parts of her life that they might not have even known about.

Call me if you need a shoulder; you have my #s.