Nita

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She walked with us but yesterday.

But yesterday – or so it seems –

We shared each others dreams, our woes,

We shared our wild and foolish dreams.

Now there is silence where she spoke,

Nor can she hear what we would say,

But all she was is with us still,

And we are glad for yesterday.

-Phillip Larkin (from the poem “Church Going”)

Last year at this time, I wrote “A Valentine for Nita,” telling about some of my sister’s struggles throughout her life, and now, with cancer.

She said, “It’s like you did my eulogy while I’m still alive!”

I denied it, but was careful, after that, to respect her privacy. All of us that love her dealt in our own way with her illness, but her struggle was hers alone.

I was down-state last month when Nita took a turn for the worse. I was able to see her, and let her know I care. Before I came home, I was able to see that her pain was being managed, and that hospice was there to help. The day that I left, I gave her a big hug and told her, “I love you.”

Then I drove home.

My brother and sisters arranged their time around Nita’s care. We’re becoming old hands at this. Nita’s children were there, along with nieces, nephews and friends, each as they could be, and as needed to help. Hospice was wonderful.

Here on Beaver Island, back at my own work, I was away from the fray. I was with them in spirit only. I wasn’t there for the changes and the frights and the occasional “melt-down,” but my heart went out to them all, every day. I could hardly think of anything else. I didn’t want to write about it, but everything else seemed unimportant in comparison.

Nita was dying, but every one that knew her and loved her had their own challenges.

Nita’s struggle ended today, in the early hours of the morning.

As for the rest of us, we struggle on without her.

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

20 responses »

  1. Cindy, I’m so sorry. Peace and strength to you and your family. And thanks to Nita, who brought joy to those around her. She continues on beyond the veil, painless and free.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of Nita’s passing. My heartfelt condolences to you and all your family. Praying for God to wrap His loving arms around you all during this time of grief and give you His peace which surpasses all understanding.

  3. Cindy, I am so sorry; I tried opening the page and sending my love when the post arrived, but it’s been too slow. I admire you for the strength it took to write this, though it might have helped release some of your grief.

    Through you, I realize how precious time is with our siblings, and i am the youngest of four girls. I cannot imagine how painful it will be if one or all go before i do. You will be the anchor for me and for many others.

    Sending you strength and comfort from the heart and soul.

    Love,
    Lisa

  4. Nita was a very strong soul..not many people could have endured the fight as long as she did. She was a beloved friend and may her memory live on for years to come. God bless you Cindy and your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours….
    Denise (Williams) Striggow

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. And I think you are brave to share your care of your sister here. When my younger sister, MJ, passed away from cancer 5 years ago, I was at such a loss. Perhaps it would have helped if I had blogged about it. I miss her so much. You have inspired me, with your verbal expression of love and loss for your sister. One day I will try to do the same … just not now. But soon. Perhaps it will help me with my memories of her. Thank you.

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