Allison M
  • Female
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • United States
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  • Jojo
  • Mary Steel Chewning

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At 9:33am on October 9, 2013, Jojo said…
Wow. We have similar stories... Both so young and taken too soon. As with you, I feel blind sided as well! Just wish we could have gotten her to the Cancer Centers if America. It all happened so fast and we were given false hope.. My heart bleeds and it bleeds for my parents more.. Sorry for your loss.. I'm praying for you all as well..
At 6:20pm on September 30, 2013, Mary Steel Chewning said…
And, just now, I have read the final paragraphs. Where does that courage come from? Both our Sarahs clearly had it. My Sarah wasn't sweet or nice either. She was, no, to use your word, is, a courageous, loving, funny and loyal woman that always had my back, now my heart, mind and memories.

I am deeply moved and honoured to have read your tender loving words. It would seem that you have your Brian and Gran to hold on to. Do so in peace and, as you say so beautifully, keep your Sarah; after all, she is now part of the beating of your weary heart. Love her.
At 6:04pm on September 30, 2013, Mary Steel Chewning said…
Dear Allison,

Here is a hanky. I'm overwhelmed. Her babies, her husband. My Sarah was more 'fortunate' - her two girls, 27 and 29, were her pride...she fought her cancer for 7 years and saw each of them graduate college, start jobs and make their own single-girl nests. Her husband and her girls were by her side to say goodbye.

Oh Lordy, I was the big sister and from your memories of being the, ahem, tortured little sister, I'm thinking backward to childhood and loyalties, laughter and shared everything including punishments. I was always leading us astray; my little sister coming right along at my insistence. A onesie? For true? How delicious a memory is that?

I know exactly, and I mean "exactly, what you said about the Sarah that was not the Sarah you knew. I read the praises, heard the kind, well-meant and, from their point of view, genuine praises uttered or written by others about my sister but they had little or no bearing on my Sarah.

I'm thinking about big and little sisters; you must feel something different than I do because of being the little sister. But, dear girl, I'm probably pushing too hard on your very open wound. This isn't meant to bring more wrenching pain. It is supposed to help in some odd way.

I hope you will let me do the following. I live on a beach. I plant coconut trees on the beach. I plant them in memory of too, too many people who have passed through my life into death. I planted one for my Sarah. I would like to plant one for your Sarah too. I will do it tomorrow unless you tell me you would prefer not. It will be a living testament to your Sarah. I will take a picture of it and give that to you.

It will grow, thrive and bear fruit for decades to come, just as your sister's memory and children will. I sit on the rocks, watch the sea and cry out to my Sarah from time to time.

You are too young in the order of all that is natural to have this happen. Go hug your sister's babies, their little bewildered souls.

You are in my thoughts. My Sarah did not care for or want prayers but she always asked for "good thoughts" - I have an awful lot of those stored up so sending them your way.

I hope you have someone to hold you, your heart and your hand.


At 3:52pm on September 30, 2013, Mary Steel Chewning said…
Dear Allison,

You took my breath away and my sorrow for your grief and loss is from my heart. Your Sarah, so young, so unfinished a life and so swift and terrible an end. It is uncanny - or not depending on your spiritual mind - that your email should arrive when it did.

I was in the midst of trying to find the words to write my mother about two things, my Sarah's birthday this week and the beginning, a few hours ago, of radiation treatments followed by chemotherapy for my stroke-burdened father just diagnosed with lung cancer. I survived my breast cancer and my mother is in remission from bladder cancer. I tell you this not to mitigate your hurt, or tell my tale but to let you know that the timing and content of your message brought waves of compassion for all of us.

I'm very, very glad you wrote. Your Sarah, my Sarah. We want them back, badly. I can offer words of condolence and sympathy but your friends and family will do that the right way - they knew your Sarah.

I send the same love you offered and wish I could take your hands and hold them tight - the hot tears keep falling, don't they?

There are a few things said about the loss of a sibling that I found to be painfully true. One was that we are often considered the forgotten mourners. Mothers, fathers, spouses, children...then us. Second and, in some ways, shattering because it is as permanent as her passing; you have lost part of your past, present and future - unique to siblings.

So, dear lady, my arms are open in a hug and my heart is open in gratitude for your words. I went on the same search for comfort when I lost my Sarah - and there you are loving and responsive in the very depths of yours. You must be a special, very special, person. Your Sarah was graced with a good sister.

Love, Mary

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