It has taken me some time to write this. Oddly enough writing is my joy and one of my true passions in life. It is a God given gift. Now I am no Toni Morrison (smile) but I do what I do at the best of my abilities.
About two months ago now my eldest sister and close friend died after a long struggle of a heart ailment. Losing a sibling is different than losing a parent. I really can't describe it but the feeling of loss is different. For the last few months of her life she was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Her quality of life had truly diminished and it was really tough for me and my other siblings to see her struggle as she did over the past few years.
My relationship with Jackie was close as it is with all of my siblings. However, as any of you that have siblings know the relationships vary with each brother or sister. My closeness with Jackie started way before I could remember. In most of the family photos where the five of us were the subject of the photo I would be positions on Jackie’s lap. There she was holding her little fathead brother. I am sure since she was the oldest she was given the responsibility of positioning me on her lap as the shutter clicked. And with my dad as the family photographer, we took a LOT OF PICTURES.
As we got older, my relationship with Jackie grew closer. Once she got married and moved several blocks away to live with her husband at the time I was a little sad. However, with her living so close we would still see each other often. As time marched on and our lives changed but our relationship never wavered. In fact Jackie was my confidant. I could remember coming to terms with my sexuality. Jackie was the first person I ever told. Now I will not say that she was jumping for joy because that was not the case. She was cautious because as most of my family and friends this was something that they did not really understand. Hell, I was trying to understand it myself.
Jackie was the peacemaker in the family. She wanted all things to be okay always. I truly miss her as does my other siblings. I find myself mentally thinking that I need to give her a call to talk about the latest “family events” or just to chat. Then I realize that I will never hear her voice again and I get a sense of emptiness in the pit of my stomach. I know that she is at peace for she no longer has a person that had a warped definition of love, no more ventilation and oxygen uses, consistent hospital visits to remove a build-up of fluid on her legs. Yes, her last few years on this earth were very difficult. However, I am thankful that the last three weeks of her life God stepped in and moved that “person” out of her life and moved Michael my older brother in. He became her daily caretaker to ensure sure had her daily meals and medication at her house. Michael was truly an angel and stepped in and stepped up when we as a family needed him.
Currently there is a hole in my soul where Jackie once resided. I know that this pain due to absence will heal but the scar will remain. I will always miss her as I would if this was to happen to any of my siblings. As I stated in the tribute I wrote and read at her home-going service, on the day I was born God immediately gave me my four best friends known as my siblings. Today I have to go on without one of my siblings/best friends and it is a little difficult. However, I thank God for the 53 years that I was able to experience life with my big sister.