A Life-Changing Experience: The Other Side of Cancer: Living Life with My Dying Sister by Annette Leeds
My family’s life changed when doctors diagnosed my sister, Theresa, with advanced stage pancreatic cancer in 2015. In January 2016, she left us and memories are all I have now; some are so painful to recall, while others bring me tremendous laughter. Even though I know she isn’t physically with me anymore, when I think of my sister, I feel her presence so deep within my heart. Whether it is a chill running through me, or a warm, loving feeling, I can only hope it is Theresa, and not my imagination getting the best of me.
The crystal vase she loved so much is now where her ashes rest. As I pass the open door of her room, there is no longer any sign of her; just an empty room she used to call home. I try to find comfort from my sorrow by lying on the floor in her room, staring up at the ceiling, hoping she will send me some sign that she is okay.
There are those days when I think I won’t be able to get through another day without her, avoiding those closest to me, angry with myself that I couldn’t save her. Each day, it is difficult to wake up without some thought of her, and with the burning question: Why was she taken from me? I long for a time when the sadness subsides, but with that comes the reality that she is no longer here…making our family incomplete.
We went through life protecting each other from harm, and, when she needed it the most, I was unable to protect her from this callous creature we call cancer. I will no longer have my sister, with whom I shared so many great times. The inside stories that only she and I understood have vanished, leaving me without my partner-in-crime.
Using my journal as a shield from the pain, I documented our time together, knowing when she was gone, I had captured her last months in black and white. She showed me the meaning of bravery and strength. Her days were not empty. She embraced life and lived it while dying. There were so many times I was truly amazed at how gracefully she accepted what lie ahead for her, as if someone let her in on that big secret we all wonder about: Where do we go when we leave here?
She always believed that if your dreams didn’t scare you, they weren’t big enough. I know she is watching and smiling, helping me through my heartache with her infectious laughter and unwavering courage.
The Other Side of Cancer: Living Life with My Dying Sister by Annette Leeds
Listen to a reading from the book: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CP8kxyzX
Author Annette Leeds
Annette Leeds is a literary journalist. Born Annette Marie Guardino to her mother who is Belgium and father who is Sicilian, she is a native Californian and the youngest of six children. Being quite creative, Annette’s strong desire to write led her to her first book, a psychological drama, followed by two television comedy scripts. She has had other entrepreneurial ventures, including a logo sportswear clothing line. Website: http:/www.annetteleeds.com | Book Website: https://find1cure.com