My sister’s story has been woven with mine to make a quilt, telling a story of love, family, immense sorrow, resilience and courage. Fourteen years ago, after my sister passed away, I made a promise to myself. While driving in my car one fall evening with an aching in my heart I had never felt before, I told myself if I lived to be her age, I’d make that year count, no matter what. That I’d live boldly and bravely in year 47 to honor her and her life.
I was 33 and I remember thinking 47 seemed so far away. She was my big sister and in many ways a surrogate mother since our mom passed away 10 years earlier. She flew out to Colorado twice during the 6 years I lived there. The first with her family and my dad and the second time she hopped on a plane the night Shane was born without hesitation to lend a hand. She lived in Florida and anyone who knows how easy and cheap it is to fly up and down the coast can appreciate the lengths she went through to be there for me and to welcome her “sweet angel” into the world.
She stayed with me for a week and met all the neighbors. In the process she managed to line up meals for the next two weeks since I had a C-section and no real family out there. She had a great sense of humor, would give you the shirt off her back and loved her family to pieces. You can imagine my shock and despair to get a phone call one October night, a little over a year later saying, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but she’s gone.”
In many ways we were the most similar out of the 4 siblings. We were both HSP’s (highly sensitive people), feelers, empaths, humble, kind and strong when we needed to be but in quiet moments we also had the ability for self-reflection and doubt. We were kindred spirits and my heart broke into a million tiny pieces when she died. The only way I knew to honor her was to make that promise to myself with the personal experience that life can be so short.
I turned 47 this past summer in the midst of a global pandemic. So what’s a girl to do when she can’t travel, see friends or do exciting and/or terrifying things like I promised myself. So the idea of living BOLDLY took on a whole other meaning.
So this wasn’t the year I climbed El Capitan, hiked the Appalachian trail, went skydiving or parasailing, swam with sharks or backpacked through Europe but I did finish my first novel. And anyone who has written a novel knows swimming the Great Barrier Reef might just be less terrifying than sharing your words and thoughts with the entire world.
Guts and moxie took another form, one that included me behind a desk writing from 5 a.m.-9 a.m. most mornings for five months. Guess what I learned? Creativity takes courage, showing up takes courage, loving takes courage and being vulnerable especially takes an awakened sense of courage. I’d like to think she’d be proud of me at 47, not because I’m physically brave but because I’m emotionally brave and because I believed enough in my wild dreams to show up & make them happen. And that makes me fearless.
Have a happy day friends!