For those of you that know me personally outside of this blog you probably know that this day is probably one of the hardest days for me and my family to face. Five years ago today a daughter lost a mother, a mother and father lost a daughter, and a brother lost a sister. On February 12th, 2008 one of the most important people in my life lost her battle with cancer.
My sister Sherri was one of the strongest people I have ever met. She had the ability to find the bright side in any situation and she could make even the most unhappy person laugh with her humor and smile. I decided to write this post today as a way to honor her memory and to help my family remember her and all of the amazing things she did.
Sherri, both in life and since her passing continues to inspire people. She fought her battle with cancer with everything she had, and no matter how weak she was from radiation or Chemo she still had that ability to make everyone around her smile. Even at the worst of times she would be the one helping everyone else cope with what was happening. Towards the end she knew what was about to happen and spent her last days preparing the rest of the family for what was coming.
I will never forget my last night with her. She was in the palliative care unit and had been unconscious for a few days from what I can recall. I arrived from Ottawa after getting the news and headed straight to the hospital to see her not knowing what to expect. My parents prepared me as best they could because at this point we knew it was only a matter of time and we didn’t even know if she was going to wake up again. Then a small miracle happened! Out of nowhere Sherri woke up!! After being unconscious for days she just woke up, we were all shocked and amazed.
Now again for those of you that know me you also know that I have a very big family of aunts and uncles, and when Sherri woke up I think every single family member that was in St. John’s at the time were at the hospital within seconds!! We spent the night talking and laughing with each other and Sherri was right in the middle of it all laughing and talking to everyone. It was truly an amazing experience to see her up and around and it really did give all of us the opportunity to see her and have that vision of her laughing and smiling one last time.
As the night went on eventually it was time for her to head back to her bed, she had spent one last wonderful evening with us all and she was tired. As she went back to bed and people started heading home I had an opportunity to share some time with my sister and we said what needed to be said to each other. It was hard to do that knowing that this was probably going to be our last conversation but we talked and she said a few words to me that I really needed to hear.
I headed back to Ottawa the next day feeling a bit better about what had happened and knowing that I had that chance to talk to Sherri and tell her all the things that I wanted to say to her. I knew when I left that I would not have that chance again but I felt that she had prepared all of us for what was going to happen next. Three days later, she passed away peacefully, her battle may have been lost but her spirit brought strength to every single person that had the privilege of meeting her.
It has been 5 years but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Sherri, whether it be just a passing thought or talking to my kids about their aunt Sherri, she is always on my mind and always will be.
I can honestly say that traditionally when this day comes each year I have locked myself away from everyone and shut out the rest of the world in the past. It is a hard day to face and as I have recently discovered it is not a day to be spent alone. So this year I have decided to share the story of my sister Sherri to everyone. I hope those that read it can be inspired by the life that she lead and the inspiration she was to everyone around her both in life and through her passing.
All the best