Some of you are or will be wondering the story of my sister's recent life if you have or will read the comments under the picture I posted of her hugging the tree. I mentioned the picture was taken on her recent honeymoon and that she is now a widow already. So, here's her story through me.
My sister, like me, started very young in her first marriage and had her only son from that marriage. After that marriage fell apart she remarried a couple of years later, only for the second marriage to also fail. Both divorces being to due to cheating husbands. It took her many years to trust again.
My sister works at our local hospital, which isn't too awfully large. Pretty much everybody at least recognizes each other, if not knows each others name. Allen worked in the maintenance department. Very big and teddy bear like man. To look at him you'd think you were looking at Grizzly Adams. To know him was like talking to Santa Claus.
Ten years ago Allen was diagnosed with throat cancer. My sister was his best friend through out the whole ordeal. She would be by his side through all of the chemos and the radiation treatments. She helped nurse him back to life. Three years into remission, he had another bout with this dreadful cancer, but once again with the quickness it was detected and the strong friendship of my sister and others, he pulled through.
My sister and Allen remained just friends for almost eight years before they would finally become a couple. It took him two years to talk her into that third marriage. He swore the third time would be a charm. For Christmas in 2005 he proposed and she finally said yes. They were married on March 3rd, 2006 by eloping off to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They had a private ceremony and took lots of scenenic pictures. Shared a week of togetherness they had never really been able to know, due to previous feeding tubes and such that Allen still had until just before they were married.
The Saturday before Easter in 2005, Allen called my sister and said he wasn't feeling well so he was going home early. Neither of them usually worked on Saturdays but decided to work that day. Pam stayed for her whole shift, came home, found Allen on their bedroom floor. He was still alive but had had a major stroke. That was 5 weeks and 1 day after they had gotten married.
They were in the mist of moving her into his house, she had already let somebody sublease her home out. After a few days of sitting by Allen's bedside we had to get her moved. My sister and I solely moved her as fast as we possible could. She had to get back to that hospital and be with Allen, rightfully.
After Allen had to have part of his skull removed to relieve pressure on his brain, he developed many problems. He actually did start coming around though and was able to at least carry on conversations and make some decisions about his treatment. He was in the hospital about 2 months, bedridden and a test showed some spots on his lungs. The cancer was back. Very advanced. After many tears and many discusssions and many more tears.. the decision was made by many, including the doctor/specialist, that Allen would never survive chemo and radiation again. The stroke had caused so much damage that he just wasn't strong enough to go through all of that again.
My sister sat in that room from the day before Easter until the day after Labor Day. Yes, she'd leave once in a while to grab a shower, eat and feed their combined 5 cats. Then off to the room again she'd go. She never slept at home, she never was gone more then an hour. Allen was determined to not die with her in the room I BELIEVE. Near the end, he couldn't speak or hardly breathe.
Labor Day we were all at the hospital and he never even knew it. My sister decided to go home at 2 am to freshen up and feed the cats. She kissed Allen on the lips and said I love you. He opened his eyes, something he hadn't done for two days. She swears he smiled, and she did too. She was gone 2 hours that time as she just needed to think some. When she walked back into that room she was feeling better. She sat in the chair next to Allen and starts talking to him about the cats. She realizes he's no longer there with her. She cries, and makes the calls, and then buries her husband of 5 months a few days later.
As I sit here writing I hope the spelling is right. I cannot see a damn thing through these tears. She is a strong young woman and has been through hell and I still don't know how she did it and how she still keeps on going on strong. She is my only, baby-at that, sister.. but in many ways she is so much stronger and braver then I.