Posted on September 7th, 2010 by Colin and is posted in Growth
Picture – Sharon with Stan, her beloved 17 stone English Mastiff.
My dear sister.
We loved you here on earth.
We love you in heaven.
There are no roads our love for you can’t travel.
This is the hardest blog post I’ve ever had to write.
My brave sister died aged 45 of stomach cancer after an eight-month battle against the disease. She passed away peacefully in her sleep at 5.30 pm on the 20th August, one day after her birthday.
She took her last breath surrounded by her loved ones, mum, her husband Mick, and me. I’ve watched her this past eight months fight with such courage and so valiantly, and with such humour. She was buried next to our dad on the 2nd September in her hometown of Haverhill near Cambridge.
Our family is hurting. If any of you have lost a brother or sister, husband or wife, daughter or son you’ll understand the pain we are feeling right now. Sharon and Mick had such an incredible 22 year marriage. Always together, always laughing. Inseparable. Mum has lost her beautiful daughter, her gender partner and her closest ally in the family confederacy.
Her long fight and suffering is over but I her miss her so much. I hope she is with my dad now and has found happiness and peace.
Life is so fragile and so precious.
I must remember life is about waking up in the morning thankful. Thankfulness is a feeling. Today is valuable. Today matters. Not because of what’s going to happen but because I’ve been given the day. It is a privilege to be alive each day.
We all have the most precious thing in the entire universe, its called breath. And with each breath comes possibility – the possibility to live, to learn, to love, and to leave a legacy.
** Please do me a favour and pick up the phone and call a loved one and tell what they mean to you and how much you love them. Make today count. Do it today. Do it everyday. Please. **
Below is the tribute I read out at Sharon’s service. A packed church of 120 people attended it. She was well loved and her legacy will live on in the minds of all who knew her.
When I think of my sister Sharon so many images and thoughts flash through my mind.
Often, the death of a loved one evokes a time of deep reflection and remembrance. In fact, the statement I’ve heard the most as I’ve talked with friends and family about Sharon’s passing is, “It really makes you think.”
I think we find it especially hard to accept death when it’s “premature.” People have said, “She was so young.” “It seems so unfair.”
So yes, it does really make you think and I’ve attempted to capture my thoughts of Sharon and her life in this tribute I’ve entitled…
The Forever Bond
I consider myself to be extremely lucky for having a sister who entered my life two years after I was born. I believe Brothers and Sisters are given to us for a reason.
I would imagine there is a large percentage of the audience here today celebrating Sharon’s life that has at least one brother or sister.
There is a special bond between brother and sister. I’m not sure that numbers can measure the strength of that bond but it is a bond that can never be fully undone in our hearts no matter what we feel for our siblings.
Clara Ortega puts it like this – “To the outside world, we all grow old but not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family grief and joys. We live outside the touch of time.”
Of course our relationship has not always been sweetness and light. When we were growing up we had the usual brother and sister fights. After one such argument I remember my grandad telling us that we may fight now, but we’d be best friends some day. I’m not sure I believed it at the time.
The truth is that our relationship changed considerably over the years. Somehow we managed through similar experiences and common life goals to establish a very sincere and open channel of communication.
Even though we’ve never lived in each other’s pockets we’ve always been connected; we had such a strong bond. Together we went through each other’s ups and downs, the highs and lows of married life, the births of my children and the heartbreak of my dad dying two years ago.
In a lot of families the older sibling seems to feel an obligation to protect the younger one. It seemed to be the other way round in our relationship.
In those early years Sharon covered for me, stood up to bullies for me, made judgments on my choice of friends (especially my girl friends), and watched out for me to keep me from getting hurt.
It’s typical for the younger sibling to worship their older brother or sister. They want to be just like them, or do the same things their sibling gets to do. But it was I who wanted to be like Sharon. The dynamic was switched.
One of my favorite films is Dancing With Wolves staring Kevin Costner (don’t hold that against me!) I share this because one of the characters in the film is called Stands with Fist.
That was Sharon!
Rebellious, defiant, strong, independent, courageous, brave and free spirited. All the things I wasn’t. She was a ‘tom boy’ and true Bohemian long before I knew what that word really meant.
Grandad was right! We did turn out to be best friends.
I think people who have a brother or sister do not realise how lucky they are. Sure, they may fight, but deep down they know that there is always somebody there, somebody that is family. Family love never goes away.
Whatever your relationship with your sibling is, cherish it. In the end, you will miss your brother or sister.
I’d like to close my tribute by offering some personal THANK YOU’s, as I know Sharon will be listening.
THANK YOU for being my sister, because you’ve been my faithful ally throughout life.
THANK YOU for the fond memories I have of you. Treasured memories are an incredible gift that can never be taken away.
THANK YOU for putting up with me when I was obnoxious, difficult, and cruel as I surely must have been.
THANK YOU for sharing your love for hurt, injured and vulnerable animals.
THANK YOU for encouraging my creativity, and for being there in the audience and supporting me when I first started out in personal development.
THANK YOU for your tenderness, your toughness, your brilliance, your gentleness, your wisdom, your outrageousness, and your zest for life
THANK YOU for your wicked sense of humor, wit and lightheartedness
THANK YOU for the times I laughed so hard that the coke I was drinking came out of my nose!
THANK YOU for teaching me to be myself by being yourself
THANK YOU for letting me look into those beautiful big changeless brown eyes. Even as your body changed I could see beyond the illness to the real Sharon inside.
THANK YOU for your beautiful ‘team hug’ moment and the chance to grieve a little in your arms. This has helped me rise to new heights of intimacy and love.
THANK YOU for waiting for the right moment to slip away, for allowing Mum, Mick and me to be in your presence at the end. It was a privilege to have shared that precious and profound moment with you
THANK YOU for showing me there is nothing to fear in death and how to face it with dignity, strength and pride.
THANK YOU for teaching me; by leaving this plane, that survival of the soul is more important than anything.
THANK YOU for being MY stands with fist!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
As we know Sharon loved to have a laugh. Both her and Mick still managed to find amusement and see the humorous side of life even during the darkest times of Sharon’s illness so no celebration would be right without a little giggle.
I know Sharon loved what I’m about to read out to you so here we go…
This little ditty is by Woody Allen and its called ‘Next Life’
In my next life I want to live my life backwards
You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day.
You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.
You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You party, drink alcohol, are generally promiscuous, and then you are ready for high school.
You then go to primary school, you become a kid, and you play.
You have no responsibilities; you become a baby until you are born.
And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating, room service on tap, and larger quarters every day.
Then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!
I rest my case!
Sharon, death has ended your life but it hasn’t ended our relationship. The emotional bond I have with you will stay alive in my memory and my heart forever.
You will always be my little sis and I will always be your big bro!
Breathe easy. I love you forever.
If you have any thoughts or prayers please leave them in the comment box. I would appreciate any support you can give the family at this time.