I will never forget the day that my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She had been ill for some time but the doctors had not been able to figure out what was wrong. She had been through so many tests, poked, prodded, and it had challenged her to the core. Finally she was given an MRI and the tumour was discovered.
I remember coming through the front door of my parents’ home into the hallway and there she was. We looked into each others’ eyes and the tears started to flow. We held onto each other and cried and cried. It was very surreal. I have no idea how long we stood hugging and crying but all of a sudden she pulled back and looked straight at me. She then said the following words, “Rob, at least now I know that I’m not crazy and no matter what happens to me I am going to be ok. Do not be scared for me. I need your love — no matter what.”
I will never forget that day or those words because they were so powerful. I’m going to be ok. All I need is your love. I knew this was the truth, it reached so deeply into me that I felt a beautiful peace come over me. It was in that moment that I understood that she would always be with me whether or not she lived.
In the months that followed I fell more and more in love with her. Her courage, strength, and joy of life amazed me. It was the little pleasures of life that excited her, such as sitting by the ocean and smelling it’s salty air, tickling my son, softly playing her guitar, or reading poetry.
No time was wasted discussing everyday boring events or trying to cram everything in. Life took on this easy slow pace. It was precious and we cherished every moment that we shared together. Simple pleasures and honest conversations about life was how we lived. We had many good days and many tough ones, but in the end she succumbed to the disease and died at 25.
Her passing was 27 years ago. No one really knows when their time will come. No one knows what will happen to them in life or whether they will die young or old. I am so grateful to have known my sister. Being her older sister has been an honour for me. She was the wise one. She brought forward her immense compassion and peace. I cherished her then and still do today. What a blessing for me to have had such a deep meaningful relationship.
Her life taught me so much. To embrace your life, live in the moment with the ones that you love because you don’t know what the future will hold. Let go of petty resentments because in the end they will not matter. Love freely and allow others to love you back. These are the greatest lessons we can learn from our time on earth.
I share these words again from my sister Leslie who was one of my greatest teachers in life.
We are all going to be OK.
All we need is to give and receive love.
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