On December 1, 2009, my sister Rosemary died. She was fighting ovarian cancer for several years. The symptoms of the cancer, mostly the build up of fluid in her stomach, made her nauseated to the point that she didn't have an appetite, and her chemo therapy, although it destroyed cancer cells, left her extremely weak. The protocol used by the medical profession is to increase the potency of the chemo, if the previous effects were not working. The effects of her caner and chemo therapy cancelled the period of time she needed to heal. In other words, she was always in a state of recovery from cancer and her treatment giving her no time to heal. This kind of situation is popularly known as a "catch 22;" without nourishment and the general weakening of her constitution with every treatment, the out come was inevitable. Although, we her family and also she held on to the hope of a complete recover
I had traveled, by car, from Minnesota to the Chicago area. I arrived about 7:00pm Monday, November 16, at my sister Flo and my brother-in-law Mel's house; after having something to eat, we drove to the hospital. My visit was supposed to be a surprise, but my 5 year old niece Katie 'let the cat out of the bag,' and told her Aunt Ro I was coming.
My sister Ro was on a floor in the hospital which was designated for the immediate terminally ill, so the general rules for visitor hours were excused. My sister Ro had been in the hospital for several days prior to my arrival. She had fallen down in her apartment and could not get up. She lied there for about 20 minutes before my sister Flo, my cousin Frank, and his son Rocky came to the rescue. They got Ro to the hospital where she was diagnosed as having a blood clog in her left leg. As I sat next to my sister Ro, in my heart I knew this was a death watch.
My sister Ro was never left alone. Someone from the family was always at her bedside. She had good days, especially when the fluid in her stomach was drained. Three to four liters were drained, but as soon as the fluid was drained more fluid appeared. Her son, Chris arrived from Arizona Friday Nov. 20th. This was another good day for my sister. Chris, as a good son should, stayed and cared for his mother from his arrival to his mother's death.
I am so proud of my family for unconditionally dedicating, their time, support, and love to my sister: their mother, aunt, grandma they called Mema, cousin, and son-in-law. In my family, family is on the top of the list of value. On Wed. Nov. 18, my sister's oncologist meet with my sister Ro and the immediate family to give a state of Ro's current health. She said that Ro was too weak for any further treatment, and at this time what Ro needed was love and support. This love and support she said would be very hard to deliver; to which Ro's grandson Matt, spoke out and said, "It will not be a problem." Although it was very hard to watch this person we loved slowly lose her life, we all remained dedicated to support her passing on.
On Dec. 1, 2009, with the Sun shining and the moon not quite full, at 12:40pm my sister passed. At her right side with his hand on her head, was Chris, I was next with my hand on her arm, next to me was her grandson Matt with his hand on her knee, at Ro's feet was her daughter Eliz, on her left side was her grandson Scott with his hand on her knee, next was Elina, Ro's daughter, with her hand on her arm, next was Ro's sister Flo, with her hand on Ro's head. As we surrounded her, my sister took her last breath.
As she exhaled her last breath, the body she lived in went inert. I was filled with grief and a feeling of release that her soul had passed on into another consciousness. That feeling of passing into another consciousness where her physical suffering was relieved, has given me great comfort. My sister's death was the first death I witnessed. Her last words to me were, "Thank you for being a good brother."
My Dear Sister
Your passing left a void, yet
it also left paste to fill it in:
You showed the same courage
our PaPa did at his death,
his only lament, "This will
be the end of our family."
You showed love and caring
by suffering in silence.
You showed faith in Jesus
Farewell my dear sister.
It will be better next time.