Sunday, October 20, 2013

A couple of things....

Thanks to all for the condolences on the loss of my sister. It was definitely one of the most difficult and saddest weeks of my life. There were, however, some things I would like to note.

First, it was a long road trip and I went solo because we were not sure what was actually happening or how long I would be gone. Before leaving, my husband kindly packed up a cooler for me with good foods (grass fed burgers, brussel sprouts, raw veggies, raw nuts, and coconut flakes) and lots of water. This cooler did me well as I was able to stick with healthy choices on the road as well as for several days while I was with family.

Second, I made plans to go to my brother's gym. These workouts were important as it was a stressful time and without the sweat time, I think it would have been even more stressful. On those days that it didn't make sense to go to the gym, I took long walks. These longs walks proved to be good for the soul as well. It gave me time to reflect on things.

Third, I was not perfect but I made the choice to eat things I would not eat around here because spending time with family was much more important than being "perfect." There were several meals out at local restaurants, where the choices are not always the most healthy. I did make adjustments whenever possible. There was also the luncheon after the funeral that the families of the church my sister attended sponsored. Let's just say that potluck type meals in small town America have not changed much since I was a kid, with lots of jello salads and desserts. I so appreciate the kindness of these families.

Fourth, you never know who you will meet when you are on the road. I had made the decision to drive to Lincoln, Nebraska the first day on my way home. It is approximately 2/3rd of the way. I made a lot of stops and did a short hike along the Mississippi, but I really wanted to sweat. I knew that a good choice for a hotel along the road would be a Holiday Inn Express as they would have a fitness room. I saw a billboard for a Holiday Inn Express in Lincoln and knew it was on the west side of the city so a good choice to miss traffic the next day. When I got to the exit, I considered going on as I thought I could do another hour or so if I really wanted to do so. BUT I had told my husband I would stop in Lincoln and he had already called to see if I was stopping.

So, I stopped. At the check-in desk, I asked about the fitness room. The woman there pointed to it and then proceeded to tell me how she had recently lost 232 pounds. With that, I shared with her the two versions of my driver's license that I have in my wallet to show her the weight I had lost. We shared a bit about what we are both doing to lose weight and how much more we were trying to lose. It was an uplifting moment that I desperately needed at the time. I went to the fitness room and ran/walk on the treadmill for about an hour. It was a good workout. It was also good for me to share like that as it is not something I am used to doing and I tend to need to get to know a person before I trust them with any part of my life.

All in all, I did take care of myself quite well, even though it was such a hard week.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A post I wish I didn't have to write....

On Wednesday, October 2nd, my sister lost her battle with cancer. I already miss her so much. I think of her every day as I have since her diagnosis in April. I think of so many things to tell her. I feel guilty because I lived so far away and didn't get to see her much lately. I did fortunately visit this summer. I did not quite make it home in her final days, although I was on my way.

I am emotionally drained right now but am relieved that she is out of her pain and suffering. I am continually struck by the fact that life is not always fair. My sister did not "deserve" cancer. She never did anything to hurt anyone. Sure, she was human and she had her faults but she was a good person with a kind heart. I know that no one deserves to be stricken with cancer and it sucks that so many good people like her are suffering from the disease.

I was speaking with someone at the gym today who shared this poem with me --

What Cancer Cannot Do Poem

It cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope. It cannot corrode faith. It cannot eat away peace. It cannot destroy confidence. It cannot kill friendship. It cannot shut out memories. It cannot quench the spirit. It cannot silence courage. It cannot reduce eternal life.

This is such a great poem. I will tell you that we all had hope during her fight against this disease. I was looking forward to when she would be well enough to travel and I could take her to the Caribbean so she could finally relax on the beach. I know that she had so many people surrounding her that showed her love and care every day. I know that some very good people stepped up and this disease gave them the opportunity to grow friendships.

She was so courageous, fighting it as hard as she could and then when it was clear that the treatments just were not working, she had the courage to face it head on. She knew she was reaching the end but I understand she did not pity herself and did not want any crying in the room. She wanted no crying for her.

My family and I shared memories. We were surround by so many friends and family. My niece and I put together photo boards for the visitation time. I relived so many thing looking through the old photos. Spending time with my niece, I know that my sister did a great job in the one thing she felt was most important in that her daughter is a strong and wonderfully kindhearted young woman.

My sister may have lost the battle with cancer but we have not lost her. She will live on in our memories. We will carry on and do what we can honor her memory. I will miss her. I am sad that she is not with us anymore and I know I will have days that I will feel it more than others. She certainly did not get her final wish in that there have been many tears and there will be many more.

Lori, I wish I had told you what a beautiful woman you were. I know you know that I loved you. I know you know that I will miss you. I hope you also know that I will cherish so many memories of time spent with you.