I, like so many others out there, have a sister.
We aren’t the closest of sisters, we aren’t the best of friends.
Yet she is my sister, she is my family. We are there for each other. Always.
This past Friday, I was standing next to my sister in support when I was lucky enough to witness one of the most beautiful, the most endearing, the most precious and the most heartbreaking moment I’ve ever seen.
My sister, at that moment, laid her head on her husband’s chest, in his nook really …
… and his heart stopped beating a few short minutes later.
The how’s and why’s we were at that point aren’t important, I don’t suppose. The fact that this was incredibly sudden made it even more unbearable, I do suppose. I’ve thought before, in the past, I knew what it was to have a heart that hurt. And maybe I have, but only for myself.
Over the past few days, I’ve learned that having a heart that hurts so badly for someone else that you love, the complete and utter empathy I have right now for my sister is almost crushing for me. Doing everything I can think of to help just … doesn’t help. It won’t take away the pain for her. She told me yesterday if she could close her eyes and wake up six months or a year from now, she would.
My sister wasn’t exactly what you’d call, lucky in love before she met this man. I smile as I write that. She has always said it was that fact alone that we have in common. Until of course, just nine short years ago she met this man. He loved her and her children, freely. Openly. Tough, when needed. The point is, he loved. He loved without all the bullshit. He just … loved her. He married her, I mean he couldn’t wait to marry her. He wanted to build a life with her, he couldn’t wait to build a life with her. He was a father to my niece and nephew in all the ways that their father never was. He was their dad. I have so much respect for him, for loving my sister and her children the way he did.
I remember once, years ago, being at their house during the holidays … and I was mopey about a man who doesn’t have a quarter of the courage my sisters husband does when it comes to love. There I was feeling sorry for myself because it was the holiday and I didn’t have that someone to spend it with. Knowing … just knowing that this man would never love me the way I saw my brother-in-law love my sister.
When my BIL noticed my sadness, he hugged me and said, “QT, remember this. Life is not about learning to survive the storm, but rather learning how to dance in the rain.” I remember not getting it at the time, so deep into feeling sorry for myself I was. And now, watching my sister lay her head on his chest as he died, I get it. I so get it, Scot. You above all, are the Prince Charming most of us dream of finding. Thank you for loving my sister, my family, in a way that I can only hope to find one day.
In a way I hope all of us can find one day. While dancing in the rain.