“My bones hurt”. Those words are tattooed on my brain, the sound and pitch of her voice is something I will never forget or the expression on her face. It was Saturday, April 16, 2005 and we were at a soccer game and I asked my sister why she was limping. Her oldest daughter and my oldest daughter are the same age and were best friends since birth and they played all sports together. As a result we spent every Saturday at soccer games together. I knew something was really wrong my sister was tough as hell and never complained. The following Thursday she was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. As cancer goes ovarian cancer is one of the worst and survival rates are dismal. The doctors tried to offer hope but we knew my sister had just been sentenced to death. She was 37 years old. Two years later on May 25, 2007 she died. This Friday will be five years.
My sister was an amazing woman. She was the greatest big sister anyone could ask for and she was a great friend. She always defended me even when I did the indefensible. Growing up she would force me to play barbies with her or make me sit in a chair so she could practice putting make up on me so she would get it right when she put it on herself. I hated doing that but I could never say no to her and I’m glad I didn’t because those are the memories I have now.
When I got out of the Navy I moved back here and my sister introduced me to her best friend who would later become my wife. Over the next twelve years my wife and I and my sister and her husband were always together. I talked to her on the phone a hundred times a day we were as close as a brother and sister can be.
I have a lot of guilt because I was not nearly as good a brother as she was a sister. I would get mad at her when she would call me when I was working and sometimes I didn’t treat her as well as she deserved. When she was diagnosed I prayed every night to a God I don’t even believe in to take me instead of her. It made no sense, why take the best one this family had every seen? She asked me once to go to her doctor’s appointment and I made some excuse as to why I couldn’t go. I told her I had an appointment or something but the truth is I was a complete coward. I knew the news would be bad and I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it.
My sister was a Christian, a non-judgmental Christian and my lack of religion always bothered her. She spent her last four days on earth praying for me instead of worrying about herself. A year after she was diagnosed my mom was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. My sister was more upset about that then she had been about her own diagnosis.
Her death threw me into a frenzy of alcohol and pills. It is difficult to watch someone you love so much die. This year is the first year I will be sober on the anniversary of her death and it is the hardest year yet. Time doesn’t heal all wounds and I miss her more now than ever. I am struggling. I feel like I am in a tug of war between the man I was right after she died and the man I am now. I desperately want to go back to the gift of numbness provided by the pills and alcohol but I can’t, it isn’t fair to my wife and kids. The thing I always forget is that my wife also lost her very best friend, a friend she was closer to than anyone else. My wife was with her everyday taking care of her. I will never be able to thank my wife for what she did for my sister because the words haven’t been invented yet. My wife never got the chance to morn because she was too busy watching her husband fall apart and she needed to be strong and hold the family together. The past month I have been difficult to live with because I feel like I am losing the tug of war. I have slowly been tugged in the wrong direction. I have been mean to my wife and family members and I cannot go back. I simply can’t.
I’m sorry, I want this site to be funny where people come to laugh and I know I have talked about my sister a lot lately and I have been nauseatingly sappy but that is because I am only capable of writing what is on my mind. That is the real reason for my hiatus. I simply cannot find a way to be funny right now. I will be gone for a while. I don’t know how long but I hope all of you are here when I get back.
Ovarian cancer is called the silent killer because there are no early symptoms and by the time it is diagnosed it is usually too late. There is very little money for research because it is a rare cancer. They need money and I would appreciate any donation you could make to them. This is their website.
I love you Leeny Bug.