This post is the hardest one I’ve had to make in my life. If you follow me you would notice that my posts became few and far between in 2013 and the beginning of 2014. I walked away from a lot of things in my life. My blog being one. I however did not stop painting. I clung to my painting as a drowning man clings to a life preserver.
While I was in Beloit, Wisconsin at the Edge of the Rock Plein Air Painting Festival last year my younger sister was diagnosed with cancer. The day I found out I sat in the garden of the Angel Museum, and painted with tears streaming down my face. The museum was closed, and I was hidden from view, so I didn’t have too many visitors. It was there that I painted this painting.
When I returned from Beloit, I started to clear away everything in my life that took my time and energy. It was not easy to say no to people, and to step away from my many responsibilities. I will never regret saying no. I did not give up my painting group. I thank God for my painting group for they give me hope that things will get better. When I’m with them painting on location the sadness does not consume me. Painting is, for me a form of meditation. I’ve changed my priorities in life since she passed. I will learn from her.
At age 58, she wanted to learn to ride a motor cycle, and she did. Hours after her final chemo treatment she insisted that she was going to attend the September Friday the 13th, 2013 motor cycle rally in Port Dover, On. It was a 300 KM ride! There was no stopping her. She was going to go no matter what anyone said. So, her husband and friends joined her on the ride up.
When they arrived they pulled into the Holiday Inn. They had no reservations as this trip was on impulse. As they stepped up to the reception desk, the attendant just put down the phone. He announced to them: “This is your lucky day. That was a cancellation.” Getting a room during Friday the 13th without a reservation is a real miracle! They have 140,000 people descend on this small town! Later a friend of theirs, who had a suite all to himself invited them to stay with him. Now, the trip did not go perfectly. She did get very weak and have to go home, but she made it there. Her daughters brought the trailer up to Port Dover to bring her bike home. Was the family scared? You bet. But, they helped her to live her last days to their fullest.
During her battle with that horrid disease, I was able to spend many days with her. There was the kemo, and many emergency stays at the hospital, and at her bedside at home in her final days. We prayed, we cried, we loved her, she loved us. She wanted us to know she was not afraid. She wanted us to be happy. I held her hand the day she passed away February 3rd, 2013. Listening to her laboured breathing was heartbreaking. She was at home surrounded by family. She was only 60, and was so full of life. She was loved by so many people. I am still morning her loss, and it is a daily struggle to put one foot in front of the other.
She was so full of joy. She gave joy to others, and taught me a very good lesson. That was to be happy, surround yourself with wonderful people, give of yourself, but most important give TO yourself that what you love most.
I love my sister Patty, and I will miss her until we meet again in heaven.
The CMC motorcycle club made this tribute to her on Youtube.