We made it safe and sound all 13 hours of flying. I got no sleep on the way over but the kids and my husband did. We are flying home to be with my sister, Rabecca, for several weeks who has been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.
It is awesome being with family again. My family is large. With seven of us and our children things can be a little crazy. When we get together it is absolute mayhem - but a fun mayhem nonetheless. Kids and babies everywhere, adults trying to talk - my papa who is mostly deaf just sits and takes it all in, looking with love over his large clan. We chat, laugh, play games, go for hikes in the mountains, go skiing, golf in the Columbia River Gorge, watch movies with all the girls crying at the sad ones while the guys pass the tissues and laugh at us. Fellowship is sweet as is God’s presence in our midst.
I glance at my sister, not wanting to go. Tears come as I gently take her hand. Today is the hardest goodbye I will ever have to say. I may not see her alive again as cancer ravages her body.
She is frail now, finding it hard to even stand, unable to eat for weeks due to unrelenting nausea. I remember her whole and healthy leading the way on our long mountain hikes, water bottle in hand eager to see what is around the next bend in the trail.
She bows her head matching tears making a wet path down her own cheeks. "You'll come if things go bad quickly?" She pleads in a quiet voice. I want to grab her and hold her close in a tight hug, but even touching her hurts her bones and every move I make has to be gentle and slow.
"I'll be on the first plane out" my voice catches as I promise to come for her death. We sit there quietly heads bowed, hearts heavy. I know thousands suffer from diseases such as this, but this is my sister and if only I could take some of her pain on myself, I would do so in an instant. "This isn't goodbye," I whisper, "only a see you later, in this life or the next". She smiles up at me, her dark curly hair a halo around her pale face.
"I know" she whispers back.
Becky, I love you, you will always be my hero! God is your strength and refuge!