My Sister And I Were Never Close.I always wanted us to be close, she was my only sister after all. However, although we shared the same childhood traumas, to a degree - I'm not going to get into it here, except to say that it effected us quite differently and we grew up to be very, very, VERY different people.
There was so much about her that drove me nuts, I just wanted to shake her silly most of the time. She could be extremely hurtful. She was greedy and manipulative and used people. She hid her intelligence to attract the attention of men. She would cut us all off for months or years on end until it suited her and she needed something. The list goes on ...
Approximately 4 years ago she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. She spent the last four years in and out of hospitals, more in than out, fighting the disease and the side effects of chemotherapy treatments and bone marrow transplants. It was awful, I don't wish it on anyone's worst enemy.
The steroids made a normally skinny girl bloat to almost 400lbs. Her kidneys and liver were failing. Her heart was ... I can't even remember the words - it wasn't good. The Graft vs. Host because of the bone marrow transplant (given by my younger brother) affected her eyes, she was almost blind. She lost all of her teeth due to decay from constant vomitting while undergoing chemo and other powerful drugs. Her legs almost had to be amputated due to a bacterial infection. You name a possible bad side effect and she had it.
I lived about 14 hours away from her, but as i am a housewife I obviously have a very flexible schedule. So I would try to be out there as much as possible, especially when she was getting to go home for a bit and needed help. Or when she was beginning some new treatment. Or any one of a half a dozen times they called and told us she wasn't going to last more than another month.
During all of this she was still the same old sister, horrible. Selfish. Greedy. Hurtful. Spiteful. I'd go to visit her at the hospital and the first thing she would ask was what I brought her, or could I go buy her a bunch of stuff. Or she would literally try to take jewellery or things I had in my purse that she liked/wanted. When she had good times she never called any of us, when she had bad times or fought with her husband and in-laws I was the first call she made. She spewed venom about our childhood, blaming me for everything, for the abuse, for acting like her mother because I had to take care of my siblings while our parents were busy being absent.
There were so many times during her illness that I had enough. I mean yes, she was horribly horribly sick and she was my sister, but a person can only handle so much. Can only be a punching bag so many times. I would always end my visit, heading back home vowing that was it. That I had said my good-bye's and I wasn't going back.
Last November, the week of my wedding anniversary and my niece's (her daughter's) birthday, just as we were about to head out of town I got an email, and then a phone call late at night. Telling me that the doctors didn't think she would last more than 24 hours. She had been doing great the last few weeks, talking about going home, so it was more than a little un-expected.
I called my mom to figure out what to do and immediately booked the first flight I could out, it was to leave in less than 6 hours. I didn't sleep, afraid I would miss the flight. I actually forgot my id at home on the desk by the computer, had taken it out when booking the flight to make sure I got all the information correct. My husband had to race home to get it, making it just in time. I finally crashed on the plane. Closed my eyes and before I knew it the hour and a half long flight was landing.
It took her about 36 hours to pass away. She was somewhat co-herent, though extremely tired when I got there. I was there as she became less co-herent, as she stopped opening her eyes, as her pain got worse and they had to keep up-ing her Morphine. She slipped into a coma of sorts, mumbling and talking a little bit at first. Then came the groans and the extremely laboured breathing, almost like snoring ... gurgling with each breath. It was disturbing and disgusting. The sound still haunts me, a year later.
I stayed at the hospital, by her side, holding her hand, talking to her - because they said she could hear us. Friends and family came and went. People brought food. We debated wether or not we should bring her children in to say goodbye (they are really young) or if it would traumatize them too much. I watched my brother crying, he never cries. My mom trying to do whatever she could to help everyone else. Her case worker who had become more of a friend than anything painted her nails, because it was what my sister always did. We listened to her favourite music and used my iPad and Facebook to keep extended family updated and receive their wishes and letters they wanted us to read to her.
Then finally, on November 22nd, at about 3:20 in the afternoon her breathing started to get super quick and shallow. I went to get my brother who was taking a break. I got back into the room and she took a really deep ragged breath and then nothing ... for about a minute. She took one more ragged breath and slowly exhaled. That was it ... she was gone.
My sister was horrible, we never got along. But she was my sister, and I loved her, more than you could ever imagine. And last year she died.
I miss her.