On the Death of my Sister

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, I had a really great sister. Her name was Lori Beth and she meant the world to me.

When I was a young 3 1/2 year old tiny blond thing, Lori came into my world and turned my life around. I loved her immediately - she was such a cute little sis. Despite the fact that we had to share a bed for the majority of our growing up years we managed to forge a wonderful relationship with each other. (I say despite because she was a bed hog and I was an insomniac so many unkind words were spoken in those early years).

On November 7, after a wonderful day at school (where she was a middle school English teacher - and SO MUCH MORE) she sat down in her chair and died of a massive heart attack.

We are all shocked and heartbroken by the loss. None of us will ever be the same.

I miss her jolly laughter, her kind spirit and her deep innate wisdom. I miss her big, smooshy hugs and the drinks that she made me when we got together at her house. I miss her smile, her soft hair, her big heart and her overall presence. We who loved her will never be the same. Never....

Death is a cruel adversary. It steals your loved ones when you aren't looking. There is nothing as excruciating in this life than the pain of losing someone that is very dear to you. I've lost many family members in the past 6 years but losing Lori was the worst pain that I've ever known for she was young, and her death untimely.

I could break into a big speech now to encourage all of you to cherish every moment and to make the most of your life - but that would be cliche for we all know that to be true. I could also advise you to take care of your health - do all you can to relax and eat right and stay fit - something that is hard to do in this fast paced world - but again, that's no news to anyone either.

So here I am with no great wisdom. Life is fragile and temporary. Death will come to all of us. There's nothing we can do to stop it. No matter how much yoga I do or how rigidly I stick to my vegan lifestyle choices, I will still die.

My sister was a hard worker. She gave a good part of her life to her school. She worked 12 hour days and often on evenings and weekends. She didn't have much time for family things during the school year. We always thought we'd have that time together when she retired. Well, she didn't retire - she died in the prime of life.

When people come to Quinnbrook they come with a mix of anticipation and excitement mixed with a bit of residual stress. You can tell that they feel a tad bit guilty for leaving the hectic nature of life behind them. There are so many things that they need to attend to usually in the form of young children left with a spouse or partner who will be left shouldering an additional burden in their absence. It doesn't take long however for them to get into the swing of things and live in the bliss of the moment. By the evening they are all engaged in deep, meaningful conversations that will revive their spirits and bring the bounce back in their step.

The next morning at breakfast, they are calm and stress free. By the end of yoga they are in a state of bliss and by brunch they have settled into a new sense of gratitude for their "sisters" and their lives. I LOVE watching this transformation!! It never gets old!

After my dad passed 6 years ago, my sister, mom and I went on occasional road trips. During our car rides we would talk about life and catch up on all the things we never had time to talk about. My sister didn't have a lot of time but she made time to do what mattered to her. We now hang on to those memories. It's all we have left!

Lately, I've had quite a few people speak to me about mother/daughter events - at least 3 in the past 2 days in fact! I'm thinking there's a message here for me - and maybe for you too.

So here's my suggestion - mother and daughter weekends and sister weekends! If you are lucky enough to have a few sisters - take them all with you. If your friends are your "sisters", make the time to hang with them. Guys are great and we'll make room for you too - but sometimes you just gotta get together with the sisters! Share a bed and don't fight over the covers... you're a grown up now and all that matters is that you're together.

I would give ANYTHING to spend one more night with my sister - ANYTHING! I'm grateful for all the years that I had with her and saddened that they are over. I'm sad for her daughters who will not have the chance to do mother/daughter trips like we did. It breaks my heart. Do it for Lori.

May love and light surround you. Anne