I thought I was going to have a busy week at work. Instead, I’m at the hospital. I’m not here for me. I’m here with my sister. I’m here FOR my sister.
My sister, Heidi, and I are two years apart. Exactly two years apart. Two years to the day.
Heidi and I are a lot alike. We look alike; we sound alike. We can even trick our husbands on the phone. Those guys love it when we do that.
Heidi and I are alike, but we are also very different. Heidi is calm, humble, slow to speak, and a little shy. She is gifted in music, and she loves hanging out in her garden. Yeah. We’re so different.
When we were little, our family would accuse Heidi and me of having a secret language. In a large group, we could often be found whispering to each other. We were probably being rude. I don’t even remember what we were saying . I think there is a decent chance I was being a jackwagon, and Heidi was laughing. Heidi was always an appreciative audience. She thought I was funny; for some reason she liked listening to me talk. We all know I have plenty to say.
Sometimes, all that talking got me in to trouble with people. Still does. Heidi was quiet, but she was strong. I think she would have made a great warrior, in a different time and age. When my talking got me in trouble, Heidi came to my defense. I think we were a little bit like Romona and Beezus. I never meant to get myself in trouble, but there I always was.
When Heidi left for college, we wrote each other all the time. That is so weird. We wrote actual letters on actual paper. We gave those letters to a messenger pigeon, and hoped for the best. No, we aren’t exactly that old. We at least knew to put the messages in a bottle.
When it was my turn to go to college, I followed Heidi. We were suite mates my Freshman year. If it weren’t for falling in love with our husbands, I’m pretty sure Heidi and I would have stayed roommates throughout life. We would have been like those elderly sisters who lived together in “Little House on the Prairie”. I really get those ladies.
Heidi and I have talked to each other almost every day for our entire lives.
Heidi has been having some health issues for a while. On the 4th of July she and her family hosted all of our relatives at her house. I could tell she had her brave face on the entire day. She didn’t feel good. She had a fever. We thought that she had a cold.
A month later, Heidi still wasn’t feeling good. She still had a fever. She also had severe abdominal pain. She went to the emergency room one night. The Doctor there told her she had a large tumor on her ovary, other cysts, and lesions in other places you don’t want lesions.
The Doctor had some big long name for the tumor. I don’t remember the whole word, I just know that “carcinoma” was part of it. The E.R. Doctor said that she needed to see an oncologist right away. Before she left the E.R., the Doctor asked her if he could pray with her. That is a super good way to scare a patient.
Heidi couldn’t get in to see the oncologist for a week or so. Meanwhile, everyone in the family was praying for the best, planning for the worst. We’ve had the worst happen before. We aren’t so naive any more. We all know that one moment you can be laughing and eating dinner with your family, and the next you’re on the floor, hyperventilating in a public place. Bad stuff happens.
I learned everything I could about ovarian cancer. It’s a sad thing to learn about.
I asked God how he thought I could live without Heidi. I couldn’t picture it. But, of course, God can ask you to do all sorts of things you never thought you could do. We can’t do it. Not on our own, anyway.
I was feeling really sorry for myself, and sorrier for Heidi. I was sorriest of all for Heidi’s family. I was making a secret plan in my heart. I thought there was a chance it might help Heidi’s family a little to know that I could be strong. Maybe if I was strong, some of my strength would spill over into their hearts, and help them be strong. I decided that this thought would be the motivation I needed to keep my head above water.
Heidi’s oncologist took one look at her, and told her he did NOT think she had cancer. I guess people with cancer look like they have cancer. Heidi’s blood work indicated that she did have cancer, so did the tumor on her ovary. Still, the doctor wasn’t buying it. He said she looked too healthy.
The Doctor was right. Heidi has Endometriosis. The Doctor said it was a severe case; he took all sorts of things out of her body.
Now I am in the hospital. I’m watching my sister sleep. She is in a lot of pain.
Endometriosis is nothing to be happy about. But, we are really happy about it. I have thanked God for allowing Heidi and I more time together on Earth. I trust Him. I have been thanking Him for a lot of things lately. Mostly, I am thanking Him for reminding me that my time on Earth is just a short stay. I should make the best use of my stay. I should be grateful, industrious, loving, forgiving and faithful. I wish I didn’t need reminders.
I wish people didn’t get cancer. I wish everyone had perfectly healthy bodies, and could live together forever without any problems. Well, I guess we are going to do that, just not yet. Not here.
Right now is the time to understand that happiness, joy, pain and suffering are all to be embraced. I for sure think we are on Earth to have fun; I also think we’re here to be refined. We’re here to learn and to grown. Hard stuff makes me grow.
My sister Katy sent the rest of my sisters and Mom this beautiful passage while we were waiting for Heidi’s diagnosis. I don’t know why I loved these words so much. I do. I have reread them many times. I don’t always get what God is trying to tell me. I so get this. It’s becoming my life’s motto:
A Time for Everything
1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9What do workers gain from their toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.