As a younger sister, I never once expected that one day I would be staying home to watch over my older sister when it has been the opposite for the last 19 years. I now watch my older sister, the one that used to pick me up from elementary school and take me shopping, as this horrific tumor continues to invade her brain and degrade her more and more each day. On a daily basis, she is in bed for the entirety of the day besides maybe an hour or two; she gets up to do what she has to and returns to resting. It is always hard for me to “correctly” answer people when they ask how she is doing, because if anyone in our family ever says “good,” we’re lying. Plain and simple.
But keep in mind our ideas of good days are very relative and change often. The tumor has not yet affected any of Lindsey’s internal organ systems (other than her brain, obviously), so she is still healthy for the most part internally. Her right side is continuing to weaken; her right lower leg is numb to feeling and the right side of her face is beginning to droop and lose function. The most obvious effect of the cancer now is her speech; the Lindsey that we could once never get to stop talking now barely talks at all. She won’t start a conversation or begin to speak by herself, but can usually answer questions, as long as we phrase them so she can answer with “yes” or “no” or just give her a couple of options that she can easily repeat back. When she is awake, she sits and watches movies or just sits and is simply there. We look at her and don’t see the Lindsey we knew before this tumor. I see my sister, trapped with a brain that can’t function correctly. I know she has things to say and ideas in her head; she just has no idea how to make her brain tell her how to say them. It’s extremely difficult watching this take over her. I wish this was a nightmare that I could wake up from.
As hard as it is for me to lose my sister, it is almost just as hard for me to watch my parents lose their first-born daughter. I’ve always heard there is no greater pain than losing a child, and I hate the fact that my parents are already facing that pain and will be for a very long time. I hate seeing my Mom cry night and night and knowing that I can do nothing to ease the pain. I hate seeing my Dad struggle to stay strong and struggle with his faith on a daily basis. There is one question we all have, that we know will never be answered: Why Lindsey?
I know the next month may be very difficult for me, as I move back to Texas on August 8th. I need to spend extra time with my sister and take advantage of the place she is in now, because she will only continue to worsen. I have no idea what the next semester will hold for me. I may be coming home often to see her and spend time with my family; and unfortunately, I may lose my sister. I’m very fearful for the phone call that will one day come and my Mom will tell me that the end is near and I need to come home. I’m fearful because I know that each time I see Lindsey, I will recognize her less and less as the girl I’ve always known. I’m thankful that I know my close friends at school and home will support me and do whatever it takes to help me through this. I’m thankful for an amazing extended family that will stay close to us through everything. I continue to tell myself, at least we still have each other. And I’m thankful to Grandma Jackson who calls just to tell me she loves me.