In the Memory of my Sister



          Today, “September 25,” would have been my sister’s 32nd birthday. Unfortunately, God planned out her fate differently. She passed away more than a month ago of Acute Myloid Leukemia. It is so recent that the depth of the pain is still fresh. I don’t think it will ever be healed because losing a sister is just so unfathomable, surreal and you will just want to scream, unfair!” These questions will keep on going and going but reality bites as God only knows. My family and I are trying to move on but seeing ourselves days, weeks, month or years from now without her actually exist is like a cut in the heart with a knife. Losing her or any member of the family is something we never saw coming. Sigh! I feel like my energy is getting low, I suddenly feel heavy in my heart like I am about to cry anytime soon. Now, that I have mentioned it here I am crying as I speak. It is painful! unimaginable! unbearable!

          Sure, we have to move on as it is what it is but, there would always be a moment when you will think about that person and realized, “she is actually gone, she no longer walk among us and we will never going to see her again!” Her smiles, her rounded face, the way she cracks jokes about her siblings, her dimples, her calling me “ate,” MY GOD!! her death doesn’t sink it yet. Will it ever be? I don’t think so. 

          My other sister took a pic of her few minutes before she passed away, even though she was in grave pain tried to look at the camera because she was told it will be shown to me. But up until now I couldn’t view that particular picture because I really can’t handle it. 

           So much memories to cry for and I don’t know which one I can discuss. If I do I might end up writing a book in trilogy even. Instead, I will talk about the HLA test or “Human Leukocyte Antigen”, that I underwent. I don’t intend to be a smart arse here so I will just cut right through its purpose. I had to take the test in order to see if my sister’s blood type and mine were compatible that way the doctors will have to declare that I can donate some of my blood to hers, in short it is a bone marrow transplant where they will get a blood cells inside my bones. She used to live in Kuwait by the way, so if our blood were matched I will have to go there to undergo the procedure. Still, we had to wait for the declaration from the specialist. A couple of days after. . . she passed away. The procedure never materialized. I don’t know if God meant it to happen. She knew that I went through the test and I was told that it had pleased her and felt hopeful. The HLA was expensive we had to raised it up in order to do that simple but pricey test. At the time we were facing a financial constraint. But it never happen. The procedure never reaches the first step. The thing was we never found out if our blood were matched because the doctors got pre-occupied in saving her life and afterwards it was useless to know the findings of my blood type. She is dead!

          My mother and sister were with her in Kuwait. They stood by her from day one. My sister has now become a religious Muslim and she told me that it’s helping her to go through it. Imagine, she was there from the time they found out the medical diagnosis, series of chemotherapy and when she left her body. Their last conversation was seeing her in grave pain that she wanted to leave because she was tired. At first, she refused to let her give up, of course, she cried profusely and even told my sister to pull it through. But, upon seeing the excruciating pain in her sister’s eyes she whispered to her ear, “Opaw, if you want to leave go ahead I will let you go in peace so go and rest now!” Then that was the time my sister looked up, close her eyes and stop breathing. (Opaw was her a.k.a.).

          I can still remember as if it was just yesterday when my sister called me up that Opaw had difficulty breathing the doctors had to give her oxygen to assist her. But after few hours I saw my sister in my vision, it was clear, her face was like when we were in Dubai, shoulder length, she was in grave pain. I started crying, sobbing and I thought my cry was at a very low decibel in sound because I was in my room. My brother went up he said that I was crying so loud. I saw my sister! I told my other sister to accept whatever was about to happen ( I said it with a heavy heart). I knew Opaw will not last long. I texted my relatives to ask forgiveness in her behalf. I just felt like I had to do it. I stayed up all night to wait for an update but when nature came kicked in my body could only handle so much ergo I went to sleep. As my soul left my body to wonder to lala land my sister was calling me to tell me that Opaw have left us. My brothers and nephew kept knocking on my door to tell me. I woke up irritated because my sleep was disturbed but they told me the sad news. I was still confused until my older sister called me up to say the same thing. I yelled at her! For some reason I don’t know and hang-up the phone. Then, I cried, cried and just cried. It happened. She bid me goodbye through my vision. 

           My father, whose nature as a man is to protect his family and the “Haligi ng tahanan” but couldn’t do anything to save his own daughter. Everyday he blames himself for being a failure as a father and that everything was his fault. How can you console a mourning father? Above all, it is my mother that I worry about. Sometimes you will be awaken by her cries in the middle of the night. Her pain is the kind that only a fellow mother can relate to. That no matter how many times we console her she will never cease from mourning for her child’s departure from this world. A child should bury her parents and not on the other way around. 

            As you can see in the images I posted, there is a picture when she was tiny, she was not a cry baby she didn’t complain no matter what you do to her (except don’t starve her and clean her, of course) she grew up like that as a person and never really had any issues. There is also a shot that four of us in Dubai in the late 90’s, the one with the camera reflection was my sister (happy days!). Another beautiful picture with long hair and a contact lenses. I think it was the time when she loved to glamour up, a shot with our beloved mother and the pic with a short hair it was after she survived her 5-month chemotherapy. We all thought that she will last for several years but God took her three (3) months after her last chemo. 

           I have an earlier blog here that I talked about my sweet little sister. She actually found out after her therapy she even wrote a comment. I never told her about it, though. Anyway, today is her birthday September 25. I wonder how will she celebrate her special day if she was alive?

           She was the kindest among the siblings, my parents always say that she never raised her voice at them and never hurt their feelings, she used to save her allowance and managed to give something back to my mother, yes, always smart with the money ( the financial department or Bangko Central). I can go on and on talking about her but the thing is I only want to say is that. . . we are missing her so terribly!! The aching and longing will forever linger in our hearts.

            “Happy Birthday my darling sister!” May Allah (swt) give you light in your grave and we hope to see you in paradise, God willing.