The Changing of the Guards
Before I even knew what sisterhood was, I was introduced to six young, creative, and intelligent young ladies who would be my sisters. The eldest was Delores Elaine, whom we affectionally called "Loisee."
Loisee was the fan-favorite. Everyone loved her, and she had the sweetest of spirits. Over the years we became very close in spite of our age difference.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she offered to come and help me in any way that she could, in spite of her own health challenges. I assured her that my husband had it all under control. She made it her mission to keep in touch regardless, and that she did.
Having a terminal illness, I thought that I would be the first one to pass away. How wrong I was. Earlier this year we had to say goodbye to Delores AKA Loisee. It was one of the most heart-wrenching things that I’ve ever had to do.
Ever since Delores’ daughter, my niece, passed away two years ago, Delores was not the same. Sorrow became her constant companion. It's devastating enough that she lost her firstborn. She also had a second loss - her legs. Delores lost her firstborn, and then she had to have one leg amputated from the knee down and some toes from the other leg had to be removed as well. This added to Delores’ sorrow. However, she tried to make the best of it; she wrote every single day. She had a beautiful gift as a writer as well as an artist.
When I first realized that Delores wasn’t going to make it, my heart froze. I was shaken to the core of my being. How could I be losing the matriarch of our family, the first member of the first sisterhood that I was inducted into?
For days I was in a fog. I so wanted to wrap my head around losing a sister whom I loved deeply. I wanted to blame someone, I wanted to be angry at her because she knew that she had diabetes, why didn’t she take it more seriously? My internal monologue was one for the records.
My emotions were running rampant, and there was seemingly nothing that I could do about it. I have known grief before; however, I don’t know how to emotionally let go of someone whom I have loved with my whole heart.
I wrote this article, 72 hours after I heard the life-changing words, Delores passed away at 5:00 am. I knew that she wasn’t going to make it. She and I had both discussed what our passing away would look like and what our desires would be, but somewhere in the furthest corners of my mind, I thought that we had more time. We didn’t.
Sometimes it feels like I’m in the middle of a horrible nightmare, and at others, it is far more visceral. I try to fight back the tears; however, I can still feel the tsunami in my heart.
Making each moment count
What Delores’ passing is teaching me is that we don’t have forever or maybe not even tomorrow. Therefore, we should make each moment count regardless of how we may feel. Push yourself past your feel bad, as I would like to call it. When you feel you are worse, push through as best you can.
Don’t you dare die full of promise and unfulfilled dreams. We can have a million and one reasons why we didn’t do something; however, can we give ourselves a million reasons why we did.
There’s a changing of the guard coming; will you be ready for the change? What will your legacy be? What are you waiting to do?
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?