“Breast Cancer Has No Face”

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.

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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.

I’ll See You Again, Dear Sister

My Beautiful Sister

My Beautiful Sister

My “little” sister, Karlette, ended her journey on this earth yesterday morning.  She fought long and hard for eight years through five cancer diagnoses and very little time in remission.  Her fight is over and she is resting peacefully.  She told us she was ready to go and she went–with dignity and peace and without pain. She was alert till the end. As one of my aunts pointed out, she gave us a precious gift that we will cherish–that is, the time to travel to and spend time with her during her last four days and say good-bye.   We are grateful for the time we had with her.

She was a beautiful woman inside and out. She created beauty and light wherever she went and touched each life she encountered.  She “did good” during her sojourn here.  Even while she was going through treatment, she planned “pink parties” for other cancer patients and survivors.  She left us all with a model of how to live and how to be while in this world.  My heart aches immeasurably over losing her, but I am content that she is no longer in pain and I am looking forward to seeing her again in that “great gettin’ up morning.”

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  (I Corinthians 15:51-54 KJV)

"What Cancer Cannot Do," Poem by an "indomitable spirit.  Photo by Me

“What Cancer Cannot Do,” poem by an “indomitable spirit”

Until then, let’s work together to find a cure!

"The Cure" by Mona (sunshinesuperman on swap-bot)

“The Cure” by Mona, sunshinesuperman on swap-bot