I hear my wife crying in her pillow. It’s four o’clock in the morning. I hear every tear drop fall, her shoulders are shaking. She takes in big, deep breaths, then cries them back out.
There’s no other noise like it in the world.
My wife lost her sister Monday.
Sad. Painful. A deeper hurt
Sue’s laying there, sobbing. I put my hand on her shoulder, it doesn’t help. I ask her if she wants to lay on my shoulder. We’ve faced so many tests, challenges and heartbreaks in our forty-seven years. We are stronger when her head is on my shoulder.
Not this morning. She shakes her head, refusing my offer.
I know she has a broken heart.
I hear her whisper to herself, “I can’t believe she’s gone, I just can’t believe it.”
It’s the first death in our families to surprise us. We watched our grandparents fade away. We held hands with our parents while they passed gently into the night. We have always been able to say our good-byes, walk out the room with good thoughts. We were able to close the chapter and look for tomorrow.
Not so this week.
We have been so fortunate in the past. No phone calls in the middle of the night. No tragic accidents. The phone call Monday was at 8:30.
And, this time it was a shock. I can’t believe she’s gone.
She was healthy. She was not sick. She was active. She had plans for the rest of her life. She has a grandchild still in high school. She was waiting for a great grandchild. The wall in her house is full of photos of her family.
There’s her Christmas tree in the corner. Some presents waiting to be wrapped. A hard job for someone this year.
A coffee cup in the sink. She never left dirty dishes in the sink. It was her unwritten rule in her kitchen.
She’s going to be missed so much.
Her birthday is the day before Christmas. Christmas was always the happiest time of the year for her and for our family. Her father, my father-in-law, taught us all that it was so much better to give than receive.
We don’t know what to do or say.
My wife, she lost her mentor, she lost her confidant, she lost her friend. I can’t help her. I’m on the outside this morning.
I can’t fathom how sisters feel, how they love each other, what sort of bonds they have in their heart of hearts, why they are so close.
Brothers don’t share what sisters share. We don’t know how. Girls do. I think they are born that way. Our two grandchildren, sisters, already with a bond that’s unbreakable. They fight, then they hug each other. They cry, then they hold hands. Sisters forever.
Sue’s bond, Judy’s bond, broken now that Ann’s gone.
We just didn’t get a chance to say good-bye.
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