I recently went shopping with my “sister”, April, at an IKEA in Michigan. We went just to eat horse meatballs, laugh, not wear make-up or Spanx, and spend $459 on crap we didn’t really need. Because after all, going to IKEA is super fun when you don’t have one near your house.
That long car ride home was full of difficult conversations. Mainly, we spoke about what’s next with her cancer struggle. She’s been fighting for her life since 2005, and right now the cancer is in her pelvic bone and brain. She lives in extreme pain, and I hate it.
April, what if this clinical trial doesn’t work? I don’t understand. Why can’t they just do a pelvic replacement? Like a hip replacement?
Meredith, they could, but I would be in a wheelchair for, like, three years. I would have to learn to walk again.
I don’t care.
Meredith, I am not living like that. It’s no kind of life.
My “sister”, April, asked me if she could write something on my blog. Of course, I said she could.
When I read what she wrote, I sobbed. But I pretty much sob all the time when she isn’t looking, because I am just so damn worried about her. SO. DAMN. WORRIED. But I won’t let her see me cry, because I feel like she needs me to make her laugh. But I just can’t right now. I need to be raw and open and tell you all… my sister is very sick.
I think she knows that I am a mess. I think she knows I need her as much as she needs me, and I can tell based on what she wrote today.
So without further ado, I turn this blog over to April Miller for the day.
That word can conjure up many different feelings, depending on the relationship you have with yours. That simple noun just makes me smile because I have one. A wonderful sister. And she isn’t even my sister by blood or marriage – she is just “my sister”.
When I tell others about “my sister”, people that know me personally say, Hold on! You don’t have sister. You’re an only child.
Yes, I do. I do have a sister.
Her name is Meredith Soleau (a.k.a “Ducky” or “Piddle” – if you are nice enough to me, I’ll let you in on how she got the nickname “Piddle”).
My sister has always been there for me when I really needed a shoulder to cry on or a big laugh.
She doesn’t know it but I admire her and her path in life. I’ve seen Meredith at her highest highs and lowest lows. I watched her have a panic attack on her wedding day, and walk down the aisle after she just spent 30 minutes throwing up, only to kiss her husband for the first time. I was there when her first-born, Lars, came into this world; giggled our way thru Logan’s entry; and held baby Lilah’s hand in ICU when they thought she might have had an infection and a disabled arm.
I don’t know many women that would let another woman love her family like they were her own… but Meredith does. I’ve never had children of my own, and her children give me great joy. I love that Meredith trusts me to be their “Fairy Godmother”.
She doesn’t know this, but it helps me get through my crazy life. Allowing me that special time with her kids, even when Logan is having a “not so special” day, it brings me peace.
We’ve been each other’s biggest supporters through births, deaths, new jobs, job losses, family issues, break-ups, make-ups, tight rolling your jeans, not tight rolling your jeans – and whatever else makes the people of the world tick.
I’m serious when I say, I don’t think I have ever seen such pain and sorrow as when Lars’ father, Sy, was killed in Afghanistan. When the Blackhawk helicopter he was riding in, went down, the pain was unbearable for her. And for me, her “sister”. However, through all the tears, I saw the determination in Meredith’s eyes to move forward… for Lars. I watched her give everything she could to make his life comfortable and rewarding.
We have great examples of “sisters” from our mothers, Charolette and Nancy.
They have always been each other’s best friend and confidante. How could Meredith and I possibly screw it up?
We almost did when I was diagnosed with cancer 8 years ago. I’m not someone to ask for handouts or help, and regrettably, I shut out my sister. I’m glad she decided to stick by my side, because without her now, my outlook on life could be different.
She does things daily with no fear and a spontaneity that I strive for. Little does she know, I’m admiring and learning from her from a distance every single day.
There are many labels I can slap on Meredith Soleau. She’s hilarious, a fabulous mother, a loyal friend, a knowledgeable career woman, a dedicated wife, sometimes SUPER VULGAR… ehhhhhhhhhhh…
But I think I’ll stick with one tag. She’s my “sister”.
You are an amazing and strong woman. I wish I could be just half of you. I have always wished that. You are my role model. You always have been. You always will be.
Thank you for these kind, kind words. I needed them.
I love you.