When I was little, I wanted to be my big sister. She was the strong one. She was the pretty one. She was the brave one.
She was also a big bully, and since I worshipped her so much, I was probably an easy target. She was older than me and bigger than me, and she used that to her advantage. Hair was pulled, toys were taken. Various acts of childhood terrorism occurred.
But she had her tender moments, too. I remember crying for some reason or another one day, and how she came into the bedroom and didn't say anything--she just brushed my hair and patted my head for an hour.
She is a good sister.
Happily, when she grew up she found the best possible profession: a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Suddenly, it's as if a childhood of bullying was merely her apprenticeship: now, she could boss people around, tell them what to do, and it made them healthier. She excelled at it: they lost weight/got strong/met their fitness goals. Honestly, she quickly became kind of a local celebrity.
A little over a month ago, VERY unexpectedly, my big, strong, beautiful sister was diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer. Now, to the uninitiated, ovarian cancer is something that can get really scary really fast if you start reading about it. Side effects. Decline of health. Survival rates.
She had a surgery, but there was still cancer. Overnight, her world was transformed. Her primary setting will no longer be the gym: it's going to be chemo rooms, doctor's offices, and she will be doing lots and lots of paperwork. She's going to be tired, she's going to lose her hair, who knows what else.
Through all of the words, all of the information, all of the procedures, one word keeps coming back front and center to my mind: