In November, Evan and I went to Alabama. It wasn’t a trip that we’d planned but it’s one that I wanted to make. You see, there had been bad news from home. My grandmother had been diagnosed with lung cancer and my foster sister, Mechelle, was getting weaker from her fight against colon cancer. It felt right to go see them both before it was too late.
Being so far away, it is easy to stuff bad news in a box. You then wrap that box in a bag and put it in the farthest, darkest corner of your closet. You don’t see it every day so you can pretend it’s not there. You can pretend that someone isn’t hurting, fighting for their life. I’m ashamed to say that this is how I’ve dealt with both of these situations. I have pretended they weren’t real. All the while, leaving others to deal with the day to day realities of the situation. I’m not proud of that fact.
I kept telling myself that I would do more, call more, visit more but I didn’t. I did spend one week in Alabama. I visited Mechelle once during my trip. I let the time get away while I was there, I stayed too long and I sent her into a spiral of pain that kept me from being able to visit again while I was there. I didn’t know. We were going to visit again before we left but Evan and I had come down with a cold so it seemed better not to.
Now I won’t ever have the chance again.
You see, Mechelle, passed away today.
Leaving behind her twin sister, Melissa, who has tirelessly been by her side through this entire 10 year battle, Mekenzie, her beautiful daughter, who is just out of high school and starting her life and the rest of her family and friends who have been there for her.
And me. The one who also loved her, even though she wasn’t my “real” sister (some would say), yet that never really mattered to her or to me…..or to any of my foster family. They loved me like their own even though I wasn’t….in a time that I truly needed them.
I hope she knows that I loved her….even though I didn’t show it nearly enough.