I loved my sister, Donna. I love her still. The last 24 hours have been surreal and make no sense to me at all. When something like this happens, I always want to make a timeline– as if by categorization, I can make sense of the senseless.
My mom called yesterday afternoon and told me that my older sister had collapsed and was taken to the hospital. She spent some time without oxygen and may have suffered some brain damage. My mind, not accepting anything REALLY bad, thought, “Oh, like a mild stroke. She is going to be FINE.” I told my mom to keep me posted. Then I went for my longest run ever, came home, and took a shower. I was incredibly proud of myself and jacked up on endorphins. Then my mom called again. My 97-year-old father had called her and was crying and it DID NOT look good. It was SERIOUS.
Sometimes I can be a real dipshit.
I immediately contacted my nephew and asked him to update me. I hate getting knowledge 2nd hand. This is what I learned:
- She complained about having difficulty breathing. Asked if she wanted to go to the hospital, she said no and used her inhaler. She felt somewhat better.
- Early in the morning she told her husband that she couldn’t breathe and he needed to call 911. She fainted.
- She was taken to the hospital, but they could not get her to breathe. Her lungs collapsed.
- Late afternoon, early evening she was declared brain-dead from lack of oxygen. The family removed her from the ventilator and she passed an hour later. I will never be able to thank my nephew enough for waiting for me to arrive before taking her off life support.
That’s the timeline and it doesn’t even come close to how stunned, shocked and heartbroken her family is. It doesn’t fix it.
Right after talking to my nephew, we packed and made mad dash to Puyallup in a wild winter storm. It took us about 2.5 hours. Hours in which to wonder WTF.
Really, What. The. Fuck.
I’m back home, exhausted, shocked and incredibly sad. But I have a deep need to tell you just how warm, wonderful and funny my sister was. We didn’t grow up together. I came to the family when I was two and she was fifteen already. She loved to tell people that she taught me my ABC’s and 123’s. And also to embarrass me, that she changed my diaper.
- She loved hokey old horror movies.
- She had a wicked sense of humor.
- In spite of some odd family dynamics, she never made me feel like anything but her beloved little sister.
- She loved kitties. (Or at least had a lot of them!)
- She had an incredible ability to forgive.
- She loved to collect old things.
- She was very artistic and experimented with many different arts and crafts.
- She was one of the least judgmental people that I have ever met, but she could still see the ridiculousness of human beings.
- She loved her family
Life wasn’t always kind to Donna, but she was almost always kind to life.
RIP my sweet sister. The next book is for you.