Sunday, June 23, 2013

Guest Blog Series - A Test of Sisterhood

A close friend of mine unexpectedly lost her twin sister due to complications from cancer.  I asked her to be a guest blogger today.  Please read her journey below.

A Test of Sisterhood  -  By Courtney Waller
            I watched in awe as Kim ordered a second pouring of the $11 glass of white wine. I rarely spent more than $10 on a whole bottle. She was in town for her annual Christmas visit. This was our one chance to go out alone. ‘Is this how cancer survivors live?,’ I remember thinking. Kim ordered the meal and drinks that she wanted that night. She had decided to put her MFA in Creative Writing to great use and write a novel. I was honored when she suggested we do the project together. In April, Kim, our parents, my husband and our two children were planning to go to Disney World for a family vacation/celebration. We were also making our plans to visit the Dominican Republic together, just the two of us.
            Kim celebrated the conclusion of her radiation treatment a few months earlier with friends in an all-inclusive Miami resort. I was invited but did not go.  How could I take time off work that time of year?  How would I pay for the flight from Atlanta to Miami?  We could always have our own celebration later. Kim had survived Hodgkins Lymphoma. We had time—at least that’s what we thought…
            A month after our night on the town, Kim called our home to ask my husband Jacquay for iPhone advice. We joked about the “real” reason she called: to wish our son a happy third birthday. Somehow, Kim had managed to send the gift on time but hadn’t remembered the correct day to call. No one could talk to Kim McCoy without responding to her contagious and genuine laughter. That night was the last time I’d ever hear my twin sister’s voice.
            At 3:19AM, the following day, I found myself staring at the large red numbers on the alarm clock, unable to sleep. Two hours later, our father called to let me know that Kim was in a Florida Emergency Room with pneumonia. Unexpected calls from my parents still make me nervous. By the end of that day, my parents, husband, his mother, several of Kim’s friends and I had made their way to the hospital at various times throughout the day by plane and by car. My children were now in the care of my father-in-law. My mother-in-law wanted to stay with us longer, but was needed to help with the children. As a nurse who specializes in treating cancer patients, she was able to help my parents decipher the medical talk and what we could expect next.
Kim’s ex-husband visited the next day. I tried to warn him of Kim’s condition over the phone. However, the sight of her attached to machines and unable to breathe on her own forced him to stumble backwards. That was also the day that a nurse informed me that Kim had coded around 3:00 AM Saturday morning—the same moment I was suddenly awakened and unable to sleep.
On February 1, 2012, my twin sister Kim passed away peacefully in the hospital. I held her right hand. Mommy held her left while Daddy stood close by with my husband at her feet. Her illness was the result of a rare infection related to her cancer treatment. We were both thirty-three, just a few months shy of our next birthday and now a lifetime away from all of our plans.
To this day, Kim is always on my mind. Dealing with the pain of losing her is a continuous part of my life now. I struggle not to dwell on how unfair this all seems. Yet, tears cloud my vision as I write this post. I am thankful for the thirty-three years we had together. At times, the memories of peace and her joy that I felt visiting her in the hospital confuse me. I know she waited for us to get there. I know she waited for me. We began our lives together as tiny cells in our mother’s womb, invisible and undetectable. Even now our bond may be invisible to others, but it is so very real and tangible to me. 
Courtney and Kim

1 comment:

  1. Courtney and Kim are both wonderful women. I am blessed to have know them since high school and so happy to share their birthday with them. I pray Courtney's continued strength and admire her overflowing and continuous love for her sister, Kim. She is surely missed and always loved.