Today marks two years since my younger sister’s passing due to cancer. It’s not easier, as some assured me it would be. Every day I think about her. Every day I fight tears and nail-spitting anger. Every day I remind myself that this life is not all, that I have a “hope burning in my heart” to be reunited with my sister and other loved ones some day.
Last weekend, I did a bit of organizing and finally emptied some boxes of “nonessentials” from our move two and a half years ago. As I emptied a box, here and there, I stumbled across something connected to my sister: an essay she wrote and sent for my review before submitting; a recipe for a smoothie she shared because I don’t like eating breakfast; an old journal with the plans we made for the book we were going to write together about her experiences; a prayer written in tears, pleading for her healing.
I found wrapped in lots of tissue the extras of the beautiful sun catchers she made for a women’s group I coordinated. She’d made a similar one for all of us sisters for Christmas one year and since I liked it so much, she volunteered to make some for the group.
There is always something in a box or in a book or even on my cellphone or saved to my hard drive…these beautiful reminders of her life on earth.
There’s this precious angel saved in a text message.
She sent this to me the night after she read my blog post that championed her “fighting like a girl” against the cancer monster. She made the angel for a bulletin board in her middle school classroom, probably for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In the 10-25-12 text message she wrote, “My angel is missing her halo.” For me the missing halo has become a metaphor for Karlette as she walked this earth. She was indeed an angel without a halo to many through her many selfless acts.
In her message she also wrote the title of this piece, “Breast Cancer Has No Face”–her socio-political statement about a disease that has no boundaries, no consideration for a person’s name, income, or status, and certainly no cure.
For me, its face is very real and it bears the eyes of my sister.