Friday, February 17, 2012

Last night, I sat next to my sister, in a room full of amazing, inspiring women, and listened to her talk about how she copes with the fact that she may never teach again.  I watched as her eyes filled with tears, and her chin trembled.  But she maintained her composure, and if you didn't know her like I do, you might not have even noticed.  But I did.

Watching her deal with the grief that comes with all the changes due to her health makes her very, very sad.  And while I absolutely despise knowing she is sad, hurt, or discouraged, I can't help but go back to think of the earlier days.

I wish I could get her to understand:  Medically speaking, when your heart stopped beating, there was only a 2% chance you would survive.  And you survived.

When you spent 3 days on a ventilator with hardly any movement at all.  You would occasionally respond to painful stimuli, but mostly you just laid there.  The doctors told us:  "This may be it for her.  She might not ever function at a higher level."  The next day, you were extubated and you started speaking in that hushed, raspy voice, "sister".

When you were functioning at a VERY minimal level, requiring care for everything that at one time came naturally, we all started thinking, "How will we make this work at home?  Can she even COME home?"  And she did.  She came home November 3, 2010.

Les, I know it hurts your heart to know that your passion is on hold.  I can sense it every time I see you, and especially when we talk about it.  But do you not realize just how amazingly POWERFUL you are?  You are, hands down, the strongest woman I know.  You might cry over what you once had, but you still maintain that smile, those kind words you offer to anyone, the appreciation you express towards anyone that helps.  You are still you.  You just have more of a challenge now.

Les, sitting next to you at the salon last night meant something to me.  It's an honor to be your sister, and I beam with pride whenever I talk about you (and trust me, any chance I get, I talk about you) because you are just SO amazing!

Yes, I said it.  You are amazing.  You are strong.  You beat odds every single day.  You inspire.  You smile through the tears.  You love without holding back.  You push yourself when you feel like giving in. 

All of the women that were nominated for Women of the Year for Wyandotte TRULY deserve it, and I do not envy the jobs of the judges AT ALL.  Their accomplishments and generosity to our city is incredible, and it really opened my eyes to all the different ways to get involved.  I am SO PROUD of all of you, and it has been a true blessing getting to know you.

And to my sister. You might not be driving.  You might not be teaching.  You might still struggle with the day to day details.  But sister, you have beat every odd out there, and I know your job is not yet done.  There are more obstacles in your future, but we will tackle them, head on.

Leslie, you will ALWAYS be my hero.  It is an honor to call you my sister.  I love you with all of my heart, and I cannot wait for tomorrow, to finally celebrate our togetherness.  To celebrate life.  To celebrate love.  To celebrate family.  We may not win an award tomorrow night, but that is perfectly okay.  We won our award September 20, 2010, when my sisters heart, that heart of pure gold, started beating again.

Blessed?  You better believe it!

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