After we left the beach I called my Sister. I had not seen her in 6 months. I don’t remember the last time it had been that long. It is uncommon for me to stay away that long. I usually take a weekend here or there to go and spend time with her and her family. I absolutely adore my Sister and her family. My life is truly blessed because each one of them is a part of it.
I only have one Sister, Renee. I have several brothers, but only one Sister. We grew up sharing a room. We were always friends. Then I left. I married and I moved and we went years without spending time with each other or really seeing each other. When I returned home 27 years ago she had gotten married. Her husbands name is Mike too. I call him Mikey. She had a daughter, Megan and then several years later another daughter, Haley and a son, Alex. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love each and every one of them.
My Sister is one of those people that puts up a strong wall and makes you feel like she is going to kick your ass just for looking at her, until you get to know her, then she is the kindest, biggest hearted woman you will ever meet. She would literally give you the shirt off of her back if you needed it and for family there is nothing she wouldn’t do. Over the years we have not only been Sisters but she has been the best friend I could ever have. She has been there for every thing in my life. The good times and the bad. Her love has never wavered.
In many ways we are very much alike and in others you would swear we were nothing alike. The bottom line is that she is and has been a very important part of my life.
Her husband, Mikey, has not just been a brother in law, he has been a brother and a friend. He and Mike were close. My loss was their loss and I know that it really hit Mikey hard. Since Mike died he has gone out of his way to call me every week to see how I am doing. When he knows I am falling apart he calls to make me laugh so many times he calls more than once a week. I have to say that I have never walked into his home and not felt welcomed. There is always a hug and a loud Sista! awaiting me. I adore him. I have told him before and I meant it, if they could clone him I would marry him. Him and my sister have been married 28 years and they are lucky to have each other. There is love there and it is obvious to anyone who knows them.
My niece, Megan is 28 years old. She is wheel chair bound and is one of the most phenomenal young ladies I have ever known. She demands your attention and will make you laugh faster than anyone I know. Get her going and you will be rolling on the floor in laughter before you know it. She has brought pure joy to my heart more times than I can say. I think the funniest thing I can say is hearing Megan say “work it daddy work it” is still hilarious to me. If you knew the story behind it you would smile right along with me. She is a beautiful soul that has taught us all patience and love. I am honored to have her call me Auntie.
Then there is my niece Haley. I don’t even know where to begin with this young lady. She is truly the apple of my eye. I absolutely love this girl. She was a shy toddler that has bloomed into the most beautiful, and I mean absolutely gorgeous young lady I have ever known. Yes, she is beautiful to look at but her heart is the sweetest heart I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She is not only beautiful on the outside, she shines from within. She is smart, funny, and beyond caring. This is a young lady that I have watched grow into this being that makes our world a better place to be. Someday she will change the world for everyone instead of just a chosen few.
Alex, oh my goodness. This young man is growing like a weed. In 6 months he has grown a foot taller than me. He is kind and caring and always has a huge hug for me. I am honored to have been there when he was born. I knew that day that the world would find joy in this child. He is funny. He has the best sense of humor. He is shy and quiet. He is smart as a whip. He loves movies and he is a fabulous baseball player. That child can hit some home runs!
To say that I love my Sister’s family is the understatement of the decade. They have each in their own way brought me joy. I am not only honored that they are my family I am deeply blessed. Each one of them has taught me something about myself and each one of them has changed my life for the better. They have always included me in everything. Mike and I loved spending our weekends with them, watching Haley and Alex’s ball games, going to their parties and more than anything just hanging out with them, spending time.
This past Christmas was the first time in many years that I did not get to spend Christmas eve with them. Nothing felt right because I wasn’t there. My sister and I would be up all night getting everything ready for Christmas morning. We would be cooking, cleaning, but more than anything we would be laughing. I can honestly tell you that Christmas eve was my favorite day of the year because I knew that I was going to laugh until I hurt and then I was going to wake up and watch these beautiful creatures we call children fill the house with pure joy. I love our Christmas eve’s.
As I said it had been 6 months since I had seen them, it truly is unheard of for us to go that long. So when I called my heart was filled with joy to find out that they had no plans for the weekend and immediately we headed that way to spend the rest of the day with them. We ended up staying the night. Although I fell asleep early I am extremely glad we did.
I, of course, got the Wolfie (my Sister’s nickname) drill on what this trip entailed and whether I would be coming back. I couldn’t give her an answer because I don’t know. I have no idea what will happen in the future but what I do know is that no matter what happens I am not letting years go by without seeing, hugging and loving this family. They are just to important to me.
I fell asleep on the couch. I have to tell you that I have not slept that hard, that long or that good since Mike died. Seriously, it was as though everything that has kept me up all these nights just fell away and I was gone. I called it the sleep of the dead. Mikey said that you knew I was in my comfort zone when I could just pass out like that and you know he was absolutely right. My life has been turmoil for a year and a half and being there, in that moment, I felt the safest I have felt since this journey of losing Mike had begun. The world felt almost right yesterday and I was surrounded by love and had said good-bye to many things I loved and I was safe. There is nothing better than feeling loved and safe and it has been a while since I had felt that. I am thankful that my refuge was at my Sister’s.
I woke up this morning to Mikey making waffles and honestly before I even thought of coffee all I could think about was how blessed I was to be there. I got up, walked in the kitchen and gave him a hug that I will never forget. It was so filled with love and understanding that it touched my heart. I proceeded to the coffee pot because I don’t function well in the morning without it but it was the first time in a very long time that I woke up feeling good.
We spent the majority of the day with them. Alex had a baseball game but we needed to get home so as each of them left I gave them a hug and said my good-byes. My Sister was hard to say good-bye to. She gave me her sisterly lecture about being safe and then told me to have fun on my trip. I told her that I had no idea if I would return but she best watch out because I may just show up on her doorstep and want to live with her. We both laughed and I got in my car.
As I drove away I cried. More good-byes. Each one hard. Each one a lesson in letting go but knowing that no matter what, they have my back. Each one a blessing. Each one has changed my life for the better. Leaving them is hard. Leaving them is not forever but if or when I return their lives will be different, they will be different. They will go on without me but for all of us there will be something missing and it will be that up close and personal contact that we have become accustomed to.
We all change in moments when we least expect it. Today I changed again. I said good bye to the very people that have gotten me through the worst time of my life. I know they will always be right there, always loving me and me them but when I see them the next time their lives will be different. They will be older, losses will be had, hurts will be healed and new wounds will be opened and in turn none of us will be the same. What I do know though is that the love will always be there and nothing on this earth can or will ever change that. My Sister will always be my best friend, my Mikey will always be one of my heroes and greatest men I know, Megan, Haley and Alex will always be my heart and always be beautiful. They are love. Together we are a force that can’t be beat and the love we share can and will overcome any mountain put before us. We have climbed many and the love has only grown.
This family reinforces my belief that love overcomes all. They are the epitome of love, caring, sharing, laughter and all that is good. I am honored that they call me Sister and Auntie. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing this love and being a part of this family. They rock life and I am beyond proud of each of them. So for now it is good-bye but it is not forever instead it is until we meet again. To my Sister, Mikey, Megan, Haley and Alex thank you all for loving me, sharing your lives with me and being you, you are the best of the best.
In Her Service,