It’s been ten years since my Aunt Sandy (Sissy) died from what originally started out as breast cancer. An entire decade. That’s crazy to me in so many ways. Still to this day, I have mixed emotions when someone uses the phrase “beat cancer”. By absolutely no dis-credit to their personal journey, what they’ve been through, or the fact that they’re still alive – I promise, I’m incredibly happy for anyone that “beats cancer”, but by saying or agreeing that someone “beat cancer”, I feel like I’d also be saying that Sissy lost her battle to cancer and I don’t see it that way at all. She fought way too hard & put up with way too much for me to say she lost. I probably have said it from time to time, but inside, I always catch myself & kick myself for doing it. Maybe it’s just my competitive nature coming out or maybe it’s my spiritual nature knowing that the purpose of her having cancer wasn’t to lose a battle, but to win her eternity.
By Church of God standards she had a “who’s who” of celebrity preachers speak at her funeral service. I forget which preacher said it, but I’ll never forget one line … “she enjoyed life, she ran out & touched all the bases, but in the end she came home”! And I think that was true for her. She was the Aunt that never took anything too seriously. She went sky diving, traveled, lived at the beach for a while & never seemed to like long standing commitments like marriage, houses, or even jobs for that matter! Those things kept her too busy from living life!
But she was always consistent at being a great Aunt. She never missed our birthdays, graduations or big events. Even as I write this I can visually see her signature on cards. It was distinct – long & slender. I remember one of the last times we all got to hang out. Just the girls went to “The Swan House” for brunch & then to the mall for a little shopping. Her mind & memory were so bad at this point that you couldn’t ever be certain if she knew what she was talking about. As we walked around the mall she was persistent about going to this one store. Everyone thought it was in one direction, but she was absolutely certain it was in the opposite. We followed along as she confidently walked in front of us. She was right. We were wrong. I loved that!! I was so happy for her to be right! Just a few days after that she entered the hospital for what would be the last time. I was actually the one that answered the phone at my parents house the day she passed away. I remember so much about that day. My Uncle James was on the other end. I couldn’t get much out other than “ok” and passed the phone off to my Dad.
And now, a whole decade has passed that she has missed. I hate cancer. I hate that fact that my grandparents had to bury their daughter & that my mom no longer has her sister around – her only sibling. I don’t want anyone to “beat it” because I don’t want anyone to have it! Once again, I’ll be walking with my Mom, Sister & Sisterchicks at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event in Atlanta on Mother’s Day Weekend.
I’ll walk in memory of my Aunt – she lived life, she fought hard, she won her battle for eternity!