It would have been my sister's 58th birthday today. She died of Cancer just over fifteen years ago at the age of 42. It was a very hard time for me as we were extremely close, even though there were twelve years between us.
From what my mum tells me, she acted as though she was a little mother when I was born. That motherly love never left her, she looked out for me all through my life.
This newpaper cutting is one of my most treasured posessions. Bath Time For Jacqueline shows her enjoying a bath in front of the fire in a tin bath with, what looks like, a little plastic lamb, on her first birthday. The photo won the photographer a guinea in the Yorkshire Evening Post Amateur Photographic Competition.
As you can see from the other side of the newspaper, this clipping is over fifty six years old.
It was very hard losing my sister, as I've already said, we were very close, best friends in fact. She was a firm believer in sending cards, not for anything in particular, just because. This is one she sent to me when she went away on holiday, not long before she died. She chose it because the picture looked like one of her cats, Katy.
Her family was the most important thing to her, just as it should be. She didn't have children of her own, she had step children who are still our family even though she's no longer here, and she doted on Daniel and Eleanor.
It was only the following year that I found out I had Cancer myself at the age of 32. It was very hard telling my mum and dad that their other daughter was ill. Jacqueline was a nurse and had looked after terminally ill patients who were dying of Cancer, it scared her so much when she found out she'd got it herself and she didn't have a moment's peace in her last couple of years, she was so pessimistic from the moment she was diagnosed. I knew I didn't want to go down the same path when I got my diagnosis so I tried to be as upbeat as I could and look on the bright side, even though my children were only five and two, it was very hard. I knew my parents had only just gone through losing one child and I didn't want them to have to go through it all again. There were lots of times I was terrified but I think I managed to put on a brave face, and for the most part, I tried to be optimistic about my chances. Looking back on things now, I'm positive that a sunny outlook works wonders.
Eleanor was just coming up to her first birthday when my sister died, but she could tell you everything about her if you asked. I was determined that even though she's no longer with us, my kids would still know her, and they do. Eleanor is so like her in her ways, it's uncanny. Mick and I laugh about it, I know they'd have got on famously. It's quite heartwarming that she lives on in my daughter, though I know that if she was still here, they'd be ganging up on me, in a loving sort of way.
There's no card or present to send today, just lots of thoughts of the happy times we spent together, and there were many of those.
What a loving tribute to your sister, Jo. I am sure she would be very proud of you and your family. I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have done a wonderful job of keeping her memory alive, especially for your children. Hugs to all of you.ReplyDelete
I'm a true believer in the saying that those we love never die, we just have to keep their memory alive and I'm sure I've done that.Delete
That's a wonderful tribute to your sister Jo. What an awful time your whole family must have had with your sister's death and then your diagnosis. Thinking of you. xReplyDelete
It's been quite a turbulent time for the family ever since my sister's diagnosis with one thing or another, I don't think things have settled down since at all.Delete
I will still wish your sister a Happy Birthday. You are lucky to have had such a great relationship with her. I have one sister and two brothers, all younger and I very rarely see them. I sincerely hope my children stay as close when they are older. My children never met Malcs dad and my Dad died when Cal was seven weeks old but they live on in my children and like you I have told them endless stories and shown them endless pictures to keep their memories alive xReplyDelete
I was very lucky having such a great relationship with my sister for thirty years, as you say, some people don't have that. How sad that your children never met Malc's dad and that your dad died when Cal was so young, I think it's important to tell them all about them and keep their memory alive.Delete
Happy remembered birthday to your sister. How much do we owe to those who have gone before!?! And remembering them is a good thing to do; it keeps them close and makes them a part of us still.ReplyDelete
And, yes, your sister and daughter would probably be ganging up on you; like finds like in a family!
It's amazing how so alike my sister and Eleanor are, yet Eleanor was less than a year old when she died so it can't be learnt behaviour, I find it really interesting how even her mannerisms are so like my sister's.Delete
A poignant, but lovely post Jo. Just love the little cutting from the newspaper. Gee, I was nearly 9 when that newspaper was printed and Katy the cat looks very like my cat Tabitha, who lived to old age of 18. Take care and have a lovely weekend.ReplyDelete
It's amazing how the little cutting has lasted all these years. My sister loved her cats, she had four, Felix, Katy, Jess and Charlie.Delete
A very moving post. The bath time pic is a lovely thing to have kept.ReplyDelete
I remember the cutting being in a box of photographs at my mum and dad's, I nabbed it even before my sister died as I thought it was so lovely.Delete
A beautiful tribute to your sister, that must have been a very difficult and worrying time for your family. It's lovely keeping up with the family stories, we are always adding anecdotes and references to our stories. Lovely to have a treasured picture too xcxReplyDelete
It seems that we've had one thing after another since my sister's diagnosis, such worrying times. Family is very important to me so it's nice, as you say, to keep up with family stories and having some lovely photos is great too.Delete
What a lovely, heartfelt post. Flighty xxReplyDelete
My sister and I were very close so it was extremely hard when she died, but her memory lives on and she'll always be remembered.Delete
Thank you for sharing your sister and your memories with us. I am so glad that you have your positive cheery happy outlook, and that you are here with us. It is sad that you lost your sister and that she was struggled so with her illness. How wonderful that she lives on in your heart and memories and in your childrens as well. xxReplyDelete
It was very hard watching her go through it all, I made the decision as soon as I got my diagnosis that I'd try to be as upbeat as I could and I'm sure it helped. I just wish she could have enjoyed her last couple of years.Delete
What a wonderful tribute to your sister. Your joie de vivre shines through.ReplyDelete
Love from Mum
I think you have to grasp life with both hands, it really does bring it home to you when you've lost someone close or have been through a serious illness yourself.Delete
Hi Jo, I don't think you could of made a better tribute to your sister than this post. It's very hard isn't it to loose someone so close. I had known from your older posts that you had been ill at some point I hadn't realised it was cancer. I work within a children's cancer unit and when I'm having a bad day I just take a stroll through the ward and see how those youngsters and their parents are coping (mainly with a lot of humor and optimism) and then I realise my day isn't quite so bad after all.ReplyDelete
It's extremely hard to lose someone so close, I don't think I'll ever get over it. I had Bowel Cancer, I had surgery and chemotherapy and luckily, I beat it. I haven't had any problems since. I was one of the lucky ones, unfortunately, not all of us are, but there are many success stories. When I was having chemo, the children's treatment room was right next to the waiting room. It certainly put my illness in context when I saw such young children going through everything they did. Very humbling.Delete
A wonderful post, Jo. Hugs to you from me. :o)ReplyDelete
It's still very hard, even after all these years. She was a fabulous sister as well as my best friend.Delete
I'm so sorry for your loss, Jo. I'm sure you must think of your sister every day and you've been through very difficult times with your own health when you children were quite small. The newspaper photo of your sister and the postcards she sent will be treasured I know. Thank you for sharing these poignant memories. Your post is a lovely tribute to your sister.ReplyDelete
My sister is always in my thoughts, little things that happen, things I see or something that's said brings her to mind. I have some lovely cards she sent to me, the one in my post was posted as she set off on holiday to tell me how she was going to miss me and the family while she was away. She was such a loving and thoughtful person.Delete
A lovely post Jo. It's wonderful that you have so many happy memories of your sister. I didn't realise you had been so ill yourself too. Take care xReplyDelete
I think it's the memories which keep us going after a loved one passes away, I know I wouldn't have coped without them. It was a very trying time when I was ill, we were still grieving for my sister and then I ended up in hospital for two months before being diagnosed with Cancer and treatment lasted just about the whole of the following year. I was very lucky though, I've been fine since.Delete
Hi Jo, this is a lovely post. I am so sorry for your loss and that you had to go through illness yourself. I remember you mentioning it before. It will be a year in september since my younger brother died, and there is not a day that goes by that he is not mentioned. My children did not know him very well, but by talking about him they know him a little. Its lovely that you have cards from her and that you were so close. xReplyDelete
I remember your brother dying, that year has gone by so fast. I think it's important to keep memories of our loved ones alive, and for the next generation to know them through the things they're told. I'm lucky that I have various cards from my sister, she was a great believer in sending cards, even for no apparent reason. We were very close and I still miss her very much.Delete
Jo, this was a lovely tribute to your sister, the bath photo really made me smile, such a cute and happy baby! I think it's so nice that you still have the newspaper cutting. I am very sorry for your loss. We lost our aunt to cancer just over a year ago now, it shook the family. But one thing is certain, it has made me cherish life and every moment, you just never know what is around the corner. I do agree with you though, positive thoughts go along way, I am sure of it. My cousin is having cancer treatment at the moment and I am blown away by the strength and positive attitude she has shown. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post, Jo. xReplyDelete
We've got some really lovely photos of my sister as a baby and toddler, she was a real cutie. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt, Cancer touches every family in one way or another and it does, as you say, make you cherish life, it's such a fragile thing. I'm sorry to hear about your cousin too, but I'm sure her positive attidute will help both herself and the rest of the family. Sending my very best wishes for a speedy recovery for her.Delete