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We were states away from one another, and I could hear it in her voice, that she was leaving soon. Oh, she would try her best to muster up the strength to portray to others that she was on the mend, all while needing several platelet transfusions every week. Nancy decided a few months earlier, she was not going to go the chemo route, as she truly believed in the power of complementary medicine and alternative healing. Being an ARNP herself, and a psychotherapist, she also knew the power of the mind and heart in healing the body. But, I was worried and anxious, afraid of not being able to help her in some way, fearful of not getting to spend more time with her. I took a leave of absence from work, despite the lack up emotional support from other family members, particularly my ex-husband. I ended up taking our daughter out of Jr. High school to spend the second half of those six weeks with us. It was the first of two big decisions I made that year in order to spend more time with her. The second happened a couple months later. They were two of the best decisions of my life.
During those first weeks while she was in the hospital having chemo, bone marrow biopsies, IV’s, contracting C-diff and fungal infections, her body languished, but her spirit soared. There was a little pull out bed in her isolation room that I slept on many nights, and she would often waken at 3 or 4 in the morning, unable to fall back asleep. That was when she would share memories of her childhood, of my childhood. You see, she was 12 years older than me, and being a twin, Nancy was essentially assigned to me, while Mom took care of my brother. I was the twin who slept better, ate better and was a bit healthier. We often joked about how she once tipped me out of my stroller and I’ve never been the same since. And we’re not sure if it was accidental. During those early mornings, she would talk of how mad she was as a teenager, having to give up cheerleading practice in order to come home from school to babysit. There were two other siblings between us as well, and she was the highly capable older sister. I missed her so much when she went off to college 300 miles away, just as I entered first grade. When she came home from college on break, she was dressed like a hippie, smoked cigarettes (which my brother and I promptly broke) and said the word “SHIT” a lot. I admired her. When she married and had twin girls, I wanted to parent just like she did. . free spirited, mud pies, and homemade play dough every day.
Grandma was a fit 70 something during that time. She lived 30 years beyond that time, to 100 years old and always had a special spot in her heart for Nancy. And I I think me too, since my twin and I were the youngest of all the grandchildren.
Nancy was the one who encouraged me to find myself, to leave an abusive marriage, and to trust men again. She taught me to not be afraid of my emotions, to let the tears come, to speak my heart, and to give big hugs. I think she was match making in heaven 6 weeks after she passed over, with my current husband’s late mom.
She has been very present for me during these last couple years as I’ve started a new career and gone down the negative belief path a time or one hundred. She’s the one who says, “atta girl”. I met an intuitive last fall at an event, and within a few minutes she said to me, “your sister is here with you all the time. She’s right there on your shoulder. And she is so proud of you for continuing her work”.