A Letter To My Beloved Big Sister
Since my sister’s passing in July of 2018 from Metastatic Breast and Colon Cancer, I have found myself in an open dialogue with her. The conversation, which takes place in my mind, has been rather healing as I surf the waves of grief. One day, the dialogue started to resemble a letter and I thought I would share it with others who might be in the pre-grief or early stages after losing someone they love. I also write this for those who are living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, to say there is hope to be found that in passing, those who love you never let you go. Our relationship with you changes, evolves and blooms into something different. Grief is just love with nowhere to go.
Almost two years have passed and there is so much that I now know that I wish I could have told you before you passed away. I wish I could have told you that even though life without you has not been the same, that I would find a way to keep my love for you alive. That I would learn to rely on my big sister in so many other ways. There is so much that we would never have ever imagined in our last days together.
I wish I could have sent you off knowing that your loss would destroy me for a little while but that my memories of you and your love would find a way to rebuild my soul. I wish I could have eased your worries and shown you this life we’re living. I’d love for you to see how much you are still very much apart of it all.
I would have loved to have made you laugh with all the silly things I do, like saying hi to you when the clock shows 11:11 or the camper trailer ornament that I hang on our Christmas tree. I think you’d appreciate how we treat ourselves to chocolate cake with candles on your birthday where we sing so loud, and the big Oak tree we are growing just for you in the yard. Your little nieces have grown so much and remember you all the time with photos and videos played again and again. I think if you could see us now you would be proud of how far we’ve come, and how we’ve learned to roll through the waves of grief.
You are in our moments of heartache and the light after the dark. We can cry and laugh at the same time remembering all the crazy moments we all had together. We honour you, your life, your impact and your struggles. If I could have known what I know now, I would have told you that grief would be heavy but that we’d find better ways to carry it. I would have told you that I am and always will be proud to be your baby sister.
If I had known then what this life would be like now, I would have assured you that even through your passing we never really had to let you go.
Xoxo – Your little Sister.
Laura Rice is a wife and mother of three young girls as well as a System Support Specialist from Collingwood, Ontario. While navigating life after triple-negative breast cancer treatment, Laura found purpose through supporting those diagnosed with cancer as well as those who like herself carry a genetic mutation that predisposes them to developing cancer. Laura is a past member of Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board, has written many blogs for Rethink, currently volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society as a Peer to Peer support facilitator and Co Run Director for the Blue Mountain/Collingwood CIBC Run for the Cure.