Girls’ weekend out
Later this month, my mom, sister, three nieces and I are going on an overnight trip to Chicago. It will be a girls’ weekend out. I’m not sure what all we are doing but I know we’ll be eating at good restaurants, we’ll be seeing some type of theatrical show and we’ll stay at a downtown hotel.
The details don’t matter to me. What does matter is that we’ll be together and we’ll commemorate an event that didn’t happen.
Nearly four years ago, we were going to have a slumber party and watch “The Secret Life of Bees,” at my sister Sue’s house. It’s a movie about women and three of the women are sisters, just like me, Sue and Peggy. The slumber party didn’t take place. Sue’s breast cancer came back and it was in her brain. We all knew by then that the cancer would take her life.
I don’t recall how much time went by before one of us thought it would be good to have a girls’ afternoon out and see the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” There were at least six of us, maybe eight. Most of us had read the book, just as most of us had read “The Secret Life of Bees.” We loved being together. We honored my sister’s life and knew she was in the movie theater with us.
We also got together one Sunday afternoon in November to bake and decorate cupcakes and cutout butter cookies. Both involved frosting and pink ribbons and tears and being together in Sue’s memory. Her birthday was in November, the 22nd to be exact. Sue’s daughter delivered the cupcakes and cookies to the hospice house where Sue spent the last few days of her life and it was where she died.
I feel so lucky to have these close family ties. Maintaining those ties was especially important to Sue. She had suffered a devastating loss before being diagnosed with breast cancer. She epitomized the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” She climbed up out of a dark hole only to face another dark space, which she also met with grace. Her life and her death have made many of the women in my family stronger.
Sue is still helping us maintain our family ties and making us stronger. Her spirit will be with us in Chicago.