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Friday, August 28, 2009

My Sister-in-Law has had a profound effect on our Lives.

Life happens. A lot.
My life shifted gears quite a bit last week when my big brother told me his wife, Caren, was in the hospital.

We lost my brother's first wife, Candy, to cancer about 6 years ago. He married her when I was relatively young and I grew up with her as a second sister - the tall blond one with sparkly eyes, a ready, impish smile, and such a sweet person. Yes, I still miss her a lot.

I was missing her all over again this week, along with other dear people lost to cancer or illness/age: my Mom, my Dad, a favored Uncle, my Godmother, grandparents, another friend Karen, the hubby's grandparents (who adopted me right away when DH and I first started dating; "When are you getting married?" his Grandma asked after we'd been dating maybe a month. {fond grin}).
I've also been thinking about the folks in my life that have been battling cancer, but are still here to bless my life in person. A week of memories. Some very good. Some bittersweet. Some that fill my eyes with tears and my heart with longing.

Yesterday, I got to say goodbye to my Sister-in-Law, Caren.
Today, she left her body behind.

Caren was a cancer survivor of maybe 4 years when we met her. She was amazing. She made beautiful, stunning corsets. She had survived some things in life that no one should have to endure - and she worked diligently to heal others. She was a Reiki Master and Hypnotherapist. She could sew anything. She had a definite green thumb and was profoundly generous.

She made my big brother happy and maybe gave him what he needed to find a more grounded center. He has bloomed in many areas of his life and is more spiritual now.
She also gifted my big brother with the "daughter he always wanted". Both Caren and her daughter decided to take my brother's name and they all chose to have adoption papers drawn up to make it official. My Niece is very accomplished and succeeds at anything she turns her mind to with grace and confidence. I have no doubts her life will be interesting and successful in any direction she chooses to turn.

Caren was also very private and much of the recurrence of her cancer was not known to me or our family...or even many friends, I think.
I suspect my brother has been almost solely focused on Caren and helping her battle her cancer for the last 2 years. He's also been working more than full time at his job. I've learned some of what's been happening in the last week. It explains a lot of odd conversations and delayed/canceled meet-ups.
Knowing more of their path of the last 2 years, and more specifically in the last 4 months, takes some of the sting out of my confusion, and yes, some hurt, at the odd turn in our relationship.

But I feel like I missed many opportunities to spend time with Caren, to share knitting, to support them in this battle, and to learn more about and from her.

That's a common feeling when you lose someone - "I shoulda...", "I wish...", "If only...".

My Sister-in-Law, Caren has had a profound effect on our lives.

She will continue to have a profound effect on our lives.

But still I wish...

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