cancer · grief · loss · love · my heart · my sister

Krystal’s Sister

July 17th, 1987. I became Krystal’s sister. Having had three brothers already, all I wanted was a sister. The pregnancy of my last siblings was twins. One was known to be a boy. The other was unknown. It just had to be a girl! And, she was!!! Little did I know how important, how much emotion, the title of Krystal’s sister would hold for me.

Through out our life, my sister was a rascal. There really is no better word! Such a sly little one. As she aged, so did the level of her mischievous ways. I was well-known as Krystal’s sister. Like, oh shit here comes Krystal’s sister. Or Krystal’s sister wants to know if you’ve seen her. My sister was a VERY spirited teenager! I am not ashamed to admit that I mothered her. I always had.

When my sister started her fight against cancer, the dig her heels in fight, we had a long talk. She did NOT want to know the side effects of anything. She did NOT want to know probability or statistics. That was my job. At every doctors office, I would ask questions, get the paper work, etc. She figured if she had a time limit or side effect in her head, she would give up. I agreed whole heartedly. She was a bit of a hypochondriac. This definitely felt like the best plan.

Over the course of the two years she fought, Krystal’s sister became my title. Nightly calls from nurses when she was in the hospital. A couple of calls because she was being a handful. (She didn’t like what was for lunch) Reminder calls for appointments. (She didn’t answer her phone!) Calls from doctors wanting to know if I was with her. Were we together. The list goes on and on. Two years full of calls.

The last time my sister found out her cancer was aggressively coming back. We were together. Alone. Her oncologist had called my house to make sure we were together. My husband called to say the doctor was on her way. I heard her outside the room ask if Krystal’s sister was in there. When she told us, I had to walk out of the room for a minute. I had completely lost my composure.

When I walked back in my sister was sitting in her bed. No tears.

“Krystal’s sister has returned! Let’s see these results.”

After we saw the results. She squeezed my hand.

“Kate, you are so much more than Krystal’s sister.”

The last call Krystal’s sister got was from the funeral home to pick up her ashes.

I will always be Krystal’s sister. The title didn’t go away because she died.

But I don’t hear it anymore.

That is such an empty feeling.


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