I got that phone call from my sister ....the one I was sort of expecting but when it comes you realize you are not as prepared as you thought. "He passed away this morning" she said... cancer had claimed another life.
Being involved in genealogy, I am used to death dates, sending for death records, walking cemeteries, and
realizing some die too young. Death does not scare me...I am a cancer survivor and I am comfortable with my
beliefs about death. My sister however, was married 47yrs ( her first serious boyfriend) and so much of her life, her interests, her daily life was entwined with his...would she be alright?
I told her I would make arrangements and be with her for the funeral. We had been together for our parents' funerals and supported each other in the aftermath, but when I left this time she would experience being alone
for the first time in many many years. I am the older sister and I wanted to protect her.
During the trip to her home I thought about the women in my family (our ancestors) ...many of them had little time to grieve..there were children to raise, chores to be done, and times were difficult. Women were not trained to take over the financial responsibilities or make decisions about buying and selling properties. Fortunately some were left in comfort but others did not live close to family and had to manage with help from church members or neighbors.
I was pleased to see the support my sister received. Her neighbors insisted on preparing all the food as friends stopped by after the funeral. Flowers, cards and so many offers of support from so many sources. I really had nothing to worry about. She had friends from her volunteer work, her two social clubs , her church,
and the neighbors (many of them widows too) were so willing to be of assistance. Her sons live in her area
so I drove home thinking her life although changed will never the less be full of people who will help her heal.
We all came to say "goodbye" but life goes on and a new chapter has opened. It will be interesting to see her
make friends, adjust a different lifestyle and grow as a person.
I will be her main cheer leader! We never know what we might have to adjust to in this life but she has strong heritage, so I expect she will meet the day with the strength her forebearers did and be a good example for me to follow.