Her name was Alyson and she was 67 years old.
Good morning and Happy Sunday to you.
I am so incredibly grateful my sister is out of her body and all that pain. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer a year and a half ago and went after it with aggressive chemotherapy. In the end, it was the chemo that destroyed her body more than the cancer.
That’s not a criticism of how she chose to handle it, just a fact. And so I am grateful she’s no longer suffering.
What are you grateful for on this blessed, beautiful day?
I have four older sisters (Alyson was the second oldest) and I was the only boy. I’m told my feet never touched the ground for the first two years of my life because one of them always wanted to hold me.
To say the least, I had an extremely blessed upbringing.
(That’s Alyson and Jeryl in the back row then Denise, Mom, and Dad and my sister Michelle in the front with me)
Oh, there were drawbacks to being the only boy in a house full of women but not many (try getting the bathroom to yourself for just two minutes. To the this day I take the quickest showers ever because back in the day one of them was always pounding on the bathroom door to get in so I learned to get in and out asap).
Anyway, I’ve always had four older sisters until yesterday and now, for the first time in my 58 years of life, I don’t.
Weird. It’s really weird.
Alyson and I had a complicated relationship.
The truth is she had a complicated relationship with everyone in our family.
And it started the second she was born.
When my mom was seven months pregnant with Alyson, her husband Jerry woke up complaining of a headache. My mom went to the bathroom to get him some aspirin and when she came back to bed her 23-year-old husband was dead from an aneurism in his brain.
Two months later Alyson was born. My mom also had a one-year-old daughter (Jeryl) but was so devastated and overwhelmed she could barely get out of bed so the girls were sent to live with relatives.
It took a few years for my mom to truly recover and in that time Alyson missed out on not only a father, but the kind of motherly love that all babies desperately need and deserve. It left a deep wound inside of her – a wound she spent the rest of her life trying to heal.
And I get it. She got dealt a really terrible card at the very start to her life.
But the problem was (and why I’m sharing this with you is) she never did really heal it so she spent the rest of her life defined by it. She resented my mom, she resented her childhood, she resented my father, she resented her older sister, and I am sure she resented her two younger sisters and me.
Each one of us did get along with her but it always would blow up and she’d move on to the next sibling.
Don’t get me wrong. Alyson also had a happy, beautiful life. She had lots of friends and she was an amazing mom and her favorite thing in life was being a grandma to her grandkids. So even though she came into this world starved for love and attention, she left surrounded by it.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
The reason I chose to share this with you today was not for sympathy and condolences. I wanted to share what I learned from my sister and her life in hopes it can help us all in some way.
You see, the bottom line was Alyson was never able to heal and release the past. She was never able to truly forgive life/God/fate – whatever you want to call it. And I honestly believe it’s what took her life in the end because there is a tremendous amount of research showing that repressed anger and negative emotions can cause cancer.
Those emotions stuffed deep inside begin to eat the body.
My sister had lots of anger stuffed deep inside and in the end, I believe it’s what ate away at her.
How about you? Are you stuck in the past about anything? Is there an old wound inside of you that you haven’t healed? Something that continues to be a negative factor in your life? That continues to define you? And “eat at you”?
My real question is, “Are you ready to forgive and let go and truly heal?”
The cool part is it’s up to you.
I say choose love.
My love and best. Always, Jim