Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear, Sweet Sister of Mine

I'm well aware that I use my blog to talk about the people in my life more than myself.  Perhaps I'm trying to avoid negative spewing or maybe I'm just deflecting.  I like to tihnk of it as speaking on the things and people who help me realize the best side of myself.  I'm proud of the people I love.  And if the saying "Those you surround yourself with are a reflection of you" is right, well, I'm not so bad.

Today my mind is wrapped tightly around thoughts concerning my sister, Dawn.  I can't seem to shake her out and there is no reason why I should.  Thinking about her makes me happy and calms me.  In many ways we act like twins.  Twins born 4 years apart.  I always know when something is going on in her life be it good or bad.  I feel it in my bones, in my soul.  Sometimes we spend hours on the phone laughing, crying, bitching, complaining, and laughing again.  I wish I could describe the bond we share because I find myself at a loss for words right now.  It's something that can't be put into words.  It can't be explained.  It just is what it is.

Being the younger sister, Dawn was always the one I looked up to for any and everything.  She taught me how to put on makeup, shave my legs, style my hair, all things girly.  She also taught me how to pick my battles with Mom and Dad when I wasn't getting my way.  I was known for being a sass mouth and Dawn was always there to remind me exactly why I was in trouble.  Eventually I moved away from her.  From Galveston Bay all the way to Tulsa.  However, the distance never made a dent in our closeness.  In fact it helped create an even tighter bond.  Now, we're closer than ever and never away from each others hearts.

In 2008 I received one of the scariest calls of my entire life.  A very shaky voice, in almost a whisper said to me "Carrie, I have cancer".  It was the first time I felt the planet I've lived in for my entire life shift.  I felt the seas swell into a tsunami, destroying all bits of life in is destructive path. Nothing seemed okay and nothing seemed possible.  How in the hell does Dawn have cancer?  How?  Somebody fucking tell me why this woman has to deal with this bullshit!  I demand to know why! And what the fuck kind of reasoning does the world have to do this to one of the most pure souls the world will ever know?  It was the strongest, most painful blow to the gut I've ever felt.  And I couldn't even hug her.

She immediately went into surgery within days.  Her doctors wanted to remove the sick kidney as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the evil disease residing within her precious body.  This so happened to be election year and her operation was scheduled on November 2.  And that's the other shitty part.  Dawn campaigned hard for Obama.  She was a leader in her community out on the streets educating people and seeking change.  And there she was in surgery all day long, not experiencing the fruits of her labor.  Sometime in the afternoon my parents called and said she had made it out and they were confident recovery would be quick.  A sigh of relief, yes, but I still couldn't hug her.   I watched the election results all day long and into the morning hours until finally we had our president, Barack Obama. I still hadn't spoken to Dawn yet though and that was killing me.  The next morning phone rang - it was Mom's phone.  I quickly answered and I heard a tiny voice on the other end.  "Yes we can".  I don't know if I ever believed in those words until that very moment.  Seconds after my sister called to utter words to put me at ease, I promptly asked my parents for help purchasing a plane ticket to Houston.  I couldn't sit at home and wait for news anymore.  I had to be there.

I made it to Texas and to the hospital where I walked in to find my sister, my hero, my Dawn in a bed hooked up to what seemed like a hundred different machines.  She had several incisions all over her body and for lack of better words, she looked like a scarecrow.  Cut and sewn back together.  Her voice was weak, her head hung low, but her eyes shined as we were finally together.  I couldn't bare to leave her side and I slept on a tiny window seat until she was released to go home.  Although I was cold and felt somewhat like a hobo, using newspapers to cover myself where the paper thin hospitality blankets failed me, I was with Dawn.  The only place in the world I cared to be.

That was 2008 and I'm happy to report she's been cancer free for 3.5 years.  She recovered from the surgeries and became an even stronger woman than she was before.  Even through another rough year, 2011, she came out on top and ready to fight again.  Last year wrecked her with the loss of two grandparents, a divorce, a few really big heart breaks, and finally a plan to move from the place she'd suffered years of pain.  Today she's living, kicking, and thriving even though life is still trying to hand her loads of bullshit.

Just two days ago I woke up feeling awful.  I felt weak with a headache and was experiencing severe nausea.  All day long I was asked if I was okay, sick, etc.  I couldn't put my finger on it until around 6 p.m. when Dawn called.  The started with "Don't freak out, but I have to have a small procedure tomorrow".  What the hell is going on now?  And in her talented way of making everyone else feel better about the shit she is going through, she joked me out of me fear.  But it made sense why I had felt so awful.  Again, we were connected, feeling one another as twins may experience.  On Wednesday she had to have minor procedure done on her good kidney to ensure it's functionality.  Yesterday morning she went in and recovered like a rock star.  I spent most of the day wringing my hands and calling my parents. "Is she out yet?  Is she ok?  What's going on" until that tiny voice was on the phone again. "Hi. I'm fine just really tired".  Well, as history would prove I just can't stay away.  I booked a ticket and I'm heading to Houston...again.  Not for the same reasons as that scary November, but I just need to see her.  I need to hug her.  I need to be in the same room, breathing the same air as my beloved Dawn.  And that's exactly what I'm going to be doing very soon.

We have this joke between us.  We call each other Miss Dashwood after Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  If you've never read the book you may not get it, but it's about two very close sisters who face and overcome heart breaks, illness, and life's handings of ridiculous bullshit.  We've called each other this for a long time.  It's kind of our thing.  There is a scene when the younger sister Marianne is very ill and Elinor pleads with her to fight for her life. 

"Marianne, please try... I cannot... I cannot do without you. Oh, please, I have tried to bear everything else... I will try... but please, dearest, beloved Marianne, do not leave me alone."
Those beautiful words pierce my heart every time I read them.  How beautiful.  The love between these two sisters is, perhaps, the greatest love they will ever know.   
I love you my sweet dearest sister.  You are my beloved.  You are my sunshine and my moon.  I would have never survived this life without you.  Thank you for your love and kindness.  Thank you for choosing me to be your little sister. And soon, I will hug you and kiss your sweet face. 


  1. You don't know me - I was directed to your writing via your Mother. I want to tell you that I think this is a very beautiful tribute to your sister. And it is very well written too. You are probably always a good writer - its just that I am reading you for the first time.
    It is so good to read about such a special bond between sister - to know that they do exist.

  2. Thank you very much. I want the world to know my sister even if only a little. She's a gift and I hope everyone has someone in their lives they are willing to fight for. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. It is a gift to have this bond! Most siblings do not have a relationship, like yours. It is hard to believe in pain, there are fragments of beauty, but it is there. Your relationship is this beauty! I hope and pray for your sister, that all goes well. I don't understand why some have to fight so hard, but they do. Sometimes I think it is because they are messengers. They are here to remind us of all the beauty and to do our best. I don't understand why they are chosen, but they profoundly affect those around them! She is an amazing sister, as are you! Celebrate the bonds that tie you together! Go rent that movie and watch it with her! Beautiful, touching tribute~ You both are in my thoughts n' prayers!

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    2. Thank you for the words. They are beautiful.

  4. You are very lucky to have this special bond with your sister. And she, in you. I am moved by your post, and hope you will see each other soon.

    My prayers are with you and your whole family ~