April 22. Today would have been my sister’s 40th birthday. She passed away from Leukemia and complications from it when she was 15.
Brenda was a happy, healthy, spirited little girl. Who liked to climb trees and knew her own mind. At age 4 she was diagnosed with leukemia. She underwent chemo and was given a year to live.
Due to complications from the medication, treatment and bone marrow transplant, my older brother donated his, she was left unable to walk, talk, move or feed herself after the age of 5 years old.
Imagine a beautiful young sweet girl full of life who suddenly can’t walk, talk, say I love you and has to suffer day in and day out in her body.
I was only 6 months old when she was diagnosed. I have always hated the fact that I never knew her when she was well. I only know that side of her through pictures. I never got to hear her voice, be her sister who shares stories, gets advice and (well tears forming so all of those things I would have loved to have done).
I truly hope she was happy even if she couldn’t express it. I hope she knew she was loved.
At age 15 she passed away from a grandmal seizure and my parents had to make the ultimate horrific decision about life support. I remember being 11years old, sitting in the hospital, not really understanding what was going on.
A couple months before this my mom had left and my parents were divorcing. Now they had to come to together to make this decision and plan a funeral.
Most of that time is a blur for me. I do remember walking into the funeral home, still very much unprepared about what was going on. Started walking down the aisle past the pews and when I saw the casket and my sister, I began to scream and yell ‘NO!’ and ran away. No one talked to me about what was happening or how to handle my sister’s death. Everyone was grieving in their own way, locked in their own emotions and coping styles.
My family doesn’t really talk about her, I know it is very painful, heartbreaking for everyone. I want to talk about her, learn more stories, but it just makes everyone sad. My dad said he is too sad to think about it when he goes to the grave every year. I suggested thinking of the happy times. I am sure Brenda would rather to be remembered with a smile than with tears.
But who am I say? A parent, sibling, family, friends, everyone grieves in their own way.
Just don’t forget or push aside the emotions is my new challenge with myself and my family. So I texted my parents today saying I loved them and was thinking of Brenda’s birthday today. My mom did not want to discuss it…ok. My dad says he thinks of her and me every day. I keep pictures of her up in my place. Never forgotten.
On facebook my uncle littered the pages with Happy Birthday wishes to my aunt (my dad’s sister) as today is her birthday too. I wished her Happy Birthday and meant it. Yet I find myself hurt that my sister wasn’t mentioned as well.
I wonder what her life would have been like? I wonder what my life would have been like? I wonder how my family would be different if she was here, celebrating her birthday today.
I miss her. My guardian angel in heaven watching over me. I love you. Happy Birthday.