My sister, my hero

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April 2, 2014 - Winchester, Tennessee

Where to start? How do I make a long 20 year story, short? How do I rightfully describe my hero, my sister, my friend, LaVonne's journey and battle with multiple meningiomas (tumors on her brain, thousands of tiny ones and several large ones. NON malignant)? I guess I would start by saying that she is a walking (well, not so much, anymore) miracle. When she was first diagnosed, they 'gave her' 10 years. Ha!! It has been about 20!! But, oh what she has been through in that time: horrendous migraines, major brain surgeries, 5 months of radiation in NY, shunts put in her brain, countless ER visits, ambulance rides and dr's appts, losing her hair, hundreds of seizures, losing her vision, multiple handfuls of meds (some that made her hallucinate: case in point...she called us once and was telling us that there was a man living under her house and he was putting jacks under it and moving it up and down, then he would go out in the bushes and watch her with binoculars. yeah. That was a scary phone call for me, knowing she was going through this, and not knowing what I could do to help her!) having a stroke and finally being unable to walk without help, having to have help going to the bathroom and showering. Her husband has been a rock this whole time. He handles all of this himself and stays overwhelmed. Most of us in the family live a few states away. My brother, mom and myself drove down to Florida last fall and spent a few days there. I couldnt hug or kiss her enough. I couldnt help but stare at her and be so thankful to God for her. She stayed up until we got there, refusing to sleep, just to see us. I layed in bed with her and my heart overflowed with love! Throughout all of this, she has NOT complained, she has accepted what has come her way and has dealt with it like noone I've ever known. Her faith in God has never waivered, although, I'm sure she has questioned God. I know I would, but that's just human nature. God has been faithful to her. He has encamped his angels around her. He has carried her when she couldn't make it on her own and He has not failed her. Some may look at her and think, wow...what a pity. Do not pity her! In my family, we deal with things like this with humor. Humor is what got us through our dad's passing, in 1990. We got our sense of humor from him. Laughter is truly the best medicine! By that same token, our motto is, 'If you can't laugh at yourself, do not laugh at others!' We would be in line at the grocery store (LaVonne & myself) and she would have trouble writing her check out. I would look at her and say, "What's the matter, you got a brain tumor or something??" and the look on the cashier's face would be priceless...then we'd laugh and try to explain ourselves. LaVonne and I have always been very close, even though she is 13 years older than I am. I'm also the baby of the family, having 3 sisters and a brother. One of my favorite pictures of us is when I was a baby and she was about 13 and she is standing up, with me on her hip...like a second mom. Memories like that keep me smiling. These memories, she remembers. Memories of us skiing up north, going to see Bon Jovi in concert, times with her kids and our family...these she remembers like it was yesterday. It's the recent memories that elude her most times. When I separated from my husband, some years ago, she was the one who called me every single day to make sure I was ok and to see if I needed anything. I, in turn, try to be there for her, as best I can, living 700 miles away. I call sometimes (its getting increasingly harder to talk to her, sometimes she just cries and it rips my heart out. Then there are times when she just absolutely amazes me and we talk for 15-20 mins) I send her cards constantly and packages, pictures, flowers, t-shirts, etc. Anything to let her know how much she is loved, that I (we) pray daily for her and remind her of how much Jesus loves her. I feel like I'm rambling. But, just like I wish everyone could have known my dad, I wish everyone of you could meet LaVonne and see how amazing this woman is. I am constantly in awe of her. Anyone else would have given up LONG ago!! I had a major surgery two years ago and knowing how strong she has been gave me the courage to face it and not to worry and know that no matter what, God is in control. Our thing, that I started years ago, is that no matter where she is and no matter where I am...the moon we both see is the same moon. So, we're not that far apart! I always tell her that I love her to the moon and back!! Every chance I get, if the moon is out, I go outside at night and walk my dog and look at the moon and pray for her and tell her good night. Lately, though, she has said more than once that she just wants to go home. She is, of course, referring to her heavenly home. She's not giving up, she is just tired. So very tired. Worn out. Give out. Weary and weak. While we have always supported her, prayed for and with her, rallied around her and loved her every step of the way...quite honestly, sometimes, I pray for God to take her home. Only because she would be out of this world and free of her affliction. Then I feel so horrible for those feelings. I can't be the only one to have had them, can I? Am I a monster? **sigh** I have laid in bed at night and just cried because it is just so heartbreaking and I feel so helpless. All I can do is pray. So I pray. God bless you all. Carolyn Queen