I have written a lot about my younger sister over the last few years. Some of it I have shared in other places and some I have kept private. She is so much on my mind right now that I wanted to share some of the things I have written in the hopes that you would be encouraged to remember her and pray for her. I can post these since she refuses to read my blog out of protest. Although, I would post worse things about her if she did read my blog because that's my job as the bigger sister, to harrass, annoy and bug the snot out of her. I am very good at my job.
Kelly is my 48 year old little sister. Isn't it funny how even at her age I still see her in two long braids with a big toothy grin whenever I look at her. She will always be that skinny legged blond child in my mind just as my own babies remain "my babies" even as they enter their thirties. I am only three years older than Kel however I feel very motherly towards her sometimes. I always have in many ways and the years have brought it out even stronger in me.
Kelly and I have led very different lives just about from the start. As a child, I was always so self-conscious and unsure of who I was. I could be painfully shy and even worse, moody. Kelly, on the other hand was outgoing and so sure she was loved. She went through life not only knowing she was loved by family and friends but she just assumed she was loved by the world. After all, she was the darling chubby cheeked baby of the Casas family. What was there not to love?
I married young and quickly filled our lives with family. My world consisted of family. My husband, my birth children, my adopted children, foster children, church family, exchange students, neighborhood elderly, any and all that passed our door who were in need. These became our family. Kelly married in her twenties but her love, her life, her "family" was her career. She seemed to instinctively understand Corporate America and how to win. She thrived, excelled, advanced and prospered. I gave everything I had to others. So did she. We just did it in different worlds and in different ways. Sometimes I envied her life. She always seemed happy, fulfilled, ready to have fun. She had time and money. I went through those years feeling tired, stressed, financially strapped, wondering if I was even a good wife, good mother, good daughter, good anything.
In our thirties we each had our own breakdowns and breakthroughs. I emotionally broke down and started therapy. I began to deal with the childhood issues that had choked the inner life out of me for so many years. I took responsibility for my part in allowing others to dictate who I was. I stepped up and stood up and moved forward as much as I knew how. During that same time, Kelly's marriage came undone. My mother turned on her and Kel's world came apart. She knew love and success. She was the family shining star. She didn't know how to deal with being a disappointment to our mother, her sisters or herself. Life got very difficult for us all. Our "perfect" family was coming unraveled and revealing truths we did not want to see.
In the midst of all of this Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor, a benign Mengionoma. She would face five surgeries over the next nine years. In October 2006, she was diagnosed with cancer in various parts of her body. There was a 1% chance her brain tumor would spread throughout her body and become cancerous and it had happened. During 2007, I went out to stay with my sister and her new husband about six times. I tried to stay at least two weeks each time. I didn’t do much while I was there really. I was just a mother. I cooked, cleaned and listened. I talked about the past and made Kelly laugh. I hugged her when she cried and teased her when she was morbid. When she was grumpy or not feeling well I sat with her and watched movies.
One of our favorite things to do together when we were kids was watch scary movies. As we got older we would call one another whenever "What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?" or "The Bad Seed" would come on late at night. We would laugh and talk about how scared we were as kids watching those movies. The best part about the movie "The Bad Seed" was that the evil little girl named Rhoda looked exactly like Kelly when she was little right down to the braids and dresses. How I miss those days!
Kelly never had children of her own or so she thinks. My seven children and six grandchildren adore Auntie Kelly. She is a crucial part of their lives. She is loved and adored by them all. To them she is not her cancer. She is outgoing and fun, the life of every party. She is the one that listens to them and has the answers they want to hear. She is young. She is one of them. She is a mother.
Yes, I believe we are both good wives, good mothers, good daughters, good women. We are not really very different after all. We might have looked like Bad Seeds here and there along the way but the fruit of our lives has turned out to be pretty satisfying and fulfilling.
Kelly and I use to speak on the phone every day and see one another a lot through the year. Things have changed lately. We talk rarely and haven’t seen one another since last June. Maybe a scary movie will come on soon and reignite what use to be. It could happen.