Saturday, 2 May 2009

Mother's Day Tribute To My Sister

This Mother's Day I wanted tell the story of my sister Karen.
There are ten children in my family, six girls and four boys.
Now even though my mother and father
had lots of love for all of their children, there were times when it couldn't be shared. My parents, in effort to be fair, paired us up. Each of the younger children was paired with an older sibling. Karen was my "au pair" She was the one that taught me to read and write, had my first birthday party and gave me my first Barbie. Karen took me to my first movie, Blue Hawaii. Okay, later she took me to Bambi, after my Mom gave her what for!!! Needless to say whatever I needed, it was usually was Karen that took care of me.
Long after we were grown and married we still had that special bond. Things weren't always easy for Karen, she had two marriages that fell apart and she struggled to put herself and her two children through school.
 She went through a kidney transplant, my sister Linda gave her a kidney, unfortunately I was too young to be a candidate. Thank God that Linda's kidney was like that of a twin, so it worked even before the operation was completed.
Karen became a teacher and an artist, we did a lot of creative things together. She would inspire me to push the limits. I learnt how to do pottery and to do pysanky and to paint and sculpt.
Our children grew up together and while Karen encouraged them in the arts, I taught my niece   to cook and bake, to sew and be creative in other ways from how Karen taught her. I took my nephew to the beach, packing an enormous picnic basket full of goodies. Later he would tell me that was one of his best memories he's had.
Even though we would have a differences, cause we did, we still managed to stay friends and love each other for who we were. I always felt that I could achieve anything because Karen made me believe in myself.
So when I met my new husband, Ted, the Dutchman, of course I wanted them to meet. Now you have to know Karen did not usually like any man, she had one bad outlook of men and they all fell into that one category.
The first time they met my sister said," Hi, I'm Karen and I have terminal cancer".
I was devastated, not only because she was dying, but because after a failed marriage of twenty five years to an alcoholic, I had met the best friend I ever had and Karen LIKED him!
When the call came from my niece to say Karen wouldn't make it the night, the Dutchman drove me three hours to the hospice, and waited for me while I sat with her through the night.
Karen wasn't speaking vocally, but her eyes were saying volumes. Looking at her, staring into her huge brown eyes while she was taking her last breath is an image that is forever etched in my heart. I couldn't help her and she was struggling so hard to breathe, her eyes were filled with all the unspoken things that we didn't get a chance to talk about. No matter how I try to tell myself that you can't go back, it's all there, right before your eyes, the whys and should haves. Please God, let her understand how much I loved her and I want her to be at peace.
She took one final deep breathe and then closed her eyes...... my sister Lois and I looked at each other and then at Karen's children, it was over...... she's gone.
It was so hard to lose my Mom and now my Karen and I struggle with it everyday. I know that time has passed and I can almost talk about her without that huge lump in my throat. There are moments when I hear her voice or I pick up the phone to tell her of my latest project, and then I remember. I lost my desire to make or create anything for a long time, it has only been since the Dutchman has come into my life that I have been inspired.
I wish that my other sisters weren't so far away, I wish that my niece was closer and that her daughter could get to know me better. Life just doesn't always work that way, I want to be the one shopping with their Mom or sister, enjoying Mother's Day.
Instead I make excuses and retreat to my sewing room and try to immerse myself in a project, I ignore the tears that fall and the huge wave of sadness that threatens to ruin my day. I pray for God to ease the pain and grant me closure..... I loved Karen with all my heart and I wanted to say on this Mother's Day, take an extra moment to hug and kiss your Mom or your sibling, and say,"I love you"...... and mean it with all your heart......
Margaret B


Deborah@ The Painted Nest said...

Margaret, How Beautiful the love you have for your sister!!!! I will pray for you and know this~ they're alot of people who care deeply for you here. You are a great part of this family, you bring so much beauty to so many people. I found your story very toucning, I lost my dear mother 9 years ago and I can still hear her laugh. I miss her like it was yesterday that she passed away. She was the most beautiful soul!!!! It's because of her that I started to blog and get my art seen, she always wanted me to paint and be a sucess at it. Thank-you for the loving reminder to hold those close to us that we love and to let them know it always, Sweet Blessings Dear Margaret, Deborah

SharDon Exclusives said...

Margaret, How very fortunate you were to have such a wise Mother to "pair" an older sibling with you. So many many precious memories. My Momma passed just two years ago and I miss her terribly. Your blog has touched my heart & I will pray that the Lord will ease your pain and send you a "special" dream of your sister& you, to help you cope with your loss. It has worked for me when I can not bare the loss any longer. Now at night I look forward to dreaming just so that I can once again see my Momma/ brothers/Grandparents somehow it seems to help me. You have a lovely blog and I do enjoy hearing your heart today...sharon

Anonymous said...

Dear Margaret, your words of love for your dear sister Karen brought tears to my eyes. Loving, accepting and supporting those we love every day is what we have now, this moment.
May the Lord ease your heart's pain and give you the closure you so need.
Blessing and Hugs,

Denise said...

What a beautiful story of love for you and your sister.... I have a younger sister .. she is 55 and I am 62..... She has just THIS year opened up and have begun to talk to me... We have lost years.... Your sweet story has made me to understand how foolish the little thing are that keep us apart....... What a sweet sweet memory you have of your sister..... and somehow I think she knew how much you loved her.... When those tears fall this mothers day girl friend, remember the scripture that I have on my blog....... HE catches those tears and bottles them up......

Love you lots..........


Diane said...

Margaret, Thank you for the sweet and touching post. It's a beautiful tribute to your sister. May you find peace and joy in your heart.

Allidink said...

Your story is so touching. I hope you are well. I believe your sister is aware of everything you're feeling and loves you and wants you to feel better. We're all really not that far away :) They don't call it a small world for nothing. It's really like a small universe too :)

All the best,

Frippery said...

What a lovely tribute to your sister. She is truly alive in your heart and will always be with you because of the bond you shared. I know you miss her physical presence but I feel sure she is with you in spirit. Take care, Pam

texasdaisey said...

What a moving tribute to your sister. I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I had the right words for you but I just don't. Please know I am praying for you.

Lisa said...

That is very sweet! I'm 15 years older than my sister and even though there were only 3 of us I did alot of her 1st with her too! I kept a journal for her of her childhood and now at 25 and a mom she really loves it!
Hugs, Lisa

Denise said...

Just stopping by to say hello and see how you were.........

Praying that you have a blessed week....

Bonnie said...

All I can say is that you and your sister had a special relationship and that is the most important thing to remember. We all think differently and thats ok. My father was a very hard person to understand at times but I got along with him because I learned to love him for who he was. We have many lessons in this life to learn. My mom says these trials we go through build character, I just smile and say "I have enough" :)
You are in my prayers...

Nice and Easy Antiques said...

Dear Margaret, your post was very, very special to me because I have a Sister who I treasure soooo much!!! I'll make sure to tell my Sister how special she is to me. Thank you for a beautiful post. Happy Mother's Day!

Coastal Sisters said...

I have a sister that I love very much too so I know how special that bond is. Your post touched my heart. What a lovely tribute to your sister.

Happy Mother's Day,

Denise said...

Thinking of you and thought I would come by and say hey!

Praying that you have a good week and that the joy of the memories you have of your sister fills your heart to overflowing........

Lori said...

what a beautiful tribute to your sounds as if you had a very loving and special bond...i'm sorry that she cannot be with you now...your post really touched my heart:)

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

Your tender words were so touching.
My only sis lives in So.Cal I'm in the state of Washington.
We talk many hours on the phone, but due to my health issues I can't travel home and due to her finances she doesn't get to visit here much.
The bond that sisters share is incredible.
It goes beyond time and space. The precious memories we create are what lives on in our hearts forever. I hope you find joy and comfort in your cherished memories.

Sweet wishes,

Lynn said...

Margaret, what a lovely and moving story. I don't have the capacity to say anything more. Bless you. Lynn

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hello Margaret
Thnak you so much for your kind and good wishes for Larry. They meant a lot to me.
I have been behind with blogging and finally have some time now. Reading your latest post filled me with sadness for your deep losses. It was very moving to read. It must have been so hard to bear. You have a very special bond with a sister. It is very hard knowing that one of your loved ones is going to die. When it happens you are still not really prepared for it. You sounded very close and I am so very sure that your sister knows how much you love her. You will be reunited with your sister one day as I will with my first baby daughter Emily who died 10 years ago. Somehow we do get through these things but we never forget. I will pray for you Margaret. Your dutchman sounds like a wonderful man and he arrived in your life just when you needed him most.
Take care
Isabelle x

Michelle (Shell) May said...

Margaret this is an incredible story. I'm still crying. What a wonderful sister you had. What a wonderful sister you were to her. I know your sister is smiling down on you knowing that you are happy, you are creating, you have a wonderful husband and family and you love her.
Best wishes for a Happy Mothers Day.

The Spirit of Abundance said...

Dear Margaret,

Reading your wonderful tribute to your beloved sister Karen gave me the goose bumps (I still have them), and put a lump in my throat! The unconditional love that you two shared, the amazing memories you made together, are very very special!!

I cannot say that I know how you feel, only that I can imagine, 'cause nobody can completely.... but what I can say is that I do know what it's like to lose someone dear that you love with all your heart, and also in this case - to cancer.

My beloved father passed away last August, also to terminal cancer. Just 8 months prior to that he felt better that ever, until out of the blue, he was diagnosed with uncurable skin cancer. And then it all went quite quickly. What made it even harder is that he was in Finland, and I in Holland... it was similar to my twin sister who lives in Sweden... Both of us with small children to take care of at home. We travelled to Finland as often as we could, talked over the phone (while he was still able to) every other day etc, but still, it's not the same as living close by or at least in the same country and being able to visit frequently...

Once we knew for sure that no chemo's nor any alternative treatments (we tried it all) could cure him, we (my sister and brother) made it our task to tell our father how much we loved him and how much he had always meant to us, and we made sure that we knew what his wishes were regarding his will (which officially didn't exist) and any other wishes he might have had.

When he passed away, all three of us had already said goodbye to him and also told him that we gave him the permission to leave (he was in a really bad state by then) as we didn't want him to linger on just because of us... it was sooooooo difficult, but we strongly felt we just had to do it for him.

He wasn't alone when he died, but with his beloved girlfriend of many years and her daughters who were like daughters to him too. So we (me in Holland, my sister in Sweden and my brother in Finland) knew he was in good hands, all got a call in the middle of the night that the time had arrived, that he was about to pass over to the other side. So the three of us made a conference call to each other, all lit candles and in our thoughts we were with our father.

And I'm as sure of it as both my sister and brother that just then and there, his spirit paid a visit to all three of us. Quite amazing things happened to all of us, all slightly different, but we were blown away by the experience, and were even able to share it over the phone... Truly unbelievable!

These things are ALWAYS very difficult, at times way more so that at others.... but dear Margaret, I have no doubt in my mind, that even though your sister isn't physically with you any longer, that she is and always will be - JUST A LOVING THOUGHT AWAY.

Maybe she's even protecting you like she used to, but in a different way - as your guardian angel.... :)

With these thoughts I end my longer than expected comment, and wish you and your family a lot of strength, all the best and lots of love!!

A warm hug,

Lynn said...

God bless you sweetie, this must have been so hard for you to write about, but I am sure Karen knows how much you love her and appreciated all she did for you in life:)
Hugs, Lynn

Julie said...

Hi Margaret, what a lovely tribute to your sister Karen. I do know that void at which you speak about. Time only lesson the pain, but that void is forever in our hearts. You are in my prayers and God bless you on this Mothers Day, Julie

sepiadreams said...

Beautiful tribute.....Brought tears to my eyes....Life certainly is not fair and has very many difficult and trying moments-sometimes ones we feel we cannot endure. I am glad you were there for her and your relationship was what it was...We sometimes forget how truly precious our families are and at the end how blessed we are to have someone there for us.....Love Tiina...