I wasn't going to blog about this right now, but after my last post, I received a lot of textx and emails with one simple question, requesting one rather important detail I left out...which sister?
On April 17th, my sister Lisa passed away. She had severe cerebral palsy. She never walked, never talked, and was blind from birth. Doctors said she'd die before the age of six. She was 33.
Lisa was a bright and shining star in what was otherwise a cruel and unfair universe. I don't think any of my siblings--and this includes the myriad of half and stepsiblings--would call our childhoods anything other than a nightmare. It's something that never really leaves you, and while you're living it, it taints and stains everything and everyone you're associated with.
Everyone, except Lisa.
Lisa was beautiful and sweet. She loved my father and her mother deeply, as well as her twin brother. Our family dog, Bear, appointed himself her protector and especially in his last years, rarely left her side. She couldn't speak, but had her own way of communicating that those of us close to her understood. She was, in many ways, like a baby: she had a cry for hungry, a smile and a laugh for happy, and so on. As a teenager, she attended the special ed classes at Centerville High School and an after-school program through United Cerebral Palsy. She loved school, and would get so excited while waiting for the bus to come.
As she got older, her health deteriorated. She began having seizures. My father and stepmother eventually had to hire home healthcare workers to help. I have nothing but gratitude for Martha and Shiva, who cared for Lisa so long and so well.
After the death of my stepmother, she was placed into a nursing home. It is where she lived, these last few years. She needed 24-hour care. It was beyond the capabilities of my stepbrothers. I have been estranged from them for years, but I know they must have agonized over the decision. In the end, love of Lisa was the only thing we all had in common.
I will miss her laugh. I will miss how much she loved strawberry sundaes, never guessing we often hid her much-loathed medication inside. I will miss her.
I take great comfort in the knowledge that she is back with her mother and my father, and now, she can run and dance and tell them all the things she never could before.
She is now an angel. But then again, she always was.