Today, I walked into room 160 at San Antonio hospital looking for my sister, but instead I encountered a stranger.
The person there was the same height as my sister yet that is where the similarity ended. For where my sister has beautiful black hair which has never gone gray, even though she is nine years older then me, this woman had wispy strings of hair making her look like a zombie in a horror movie.
Where my sister has beautiful skin that she took great pride in, this person had scaly dried skin, making her look wrinkled and a good forty years older then my sisters fifty-five.
Where my sister had a figure to be proud of and well she should, as she took great care in watching her weight and making sure it stayed the same as she was in high school. This person looked like a skeleton, twenty pounds less then my sisters ideal weight.
I took a step back at this sight, and a second look at the numbers on the door. Yes, this was the right room number. I began to wonder if perhaps they had given me the wrong room in error. As I turned to leave my eyes fell on a framed picture near this woman's bed. I recognized the people in it; my niece and her two day old son....... my sisters, daughter and first grandchild. The light began to dawn and as I once again looked to this woman her eyes lifted to mine and lit up at the sight of me. I knew instantly that this was indeed my sister, Denise.
In that moment memories came rushing at me, like a tidal wave you are unprepared for. Her smell hit me first. The smell of her is different than any other person I know and it was ingrained in my senses during the Saturday mornings of my childhood. I would get up early and crawl into her bed, falling into her deep mattress and being cacooned in her warmth. There we would stay cuddling and laughing until the outside world made us enter it. I remember her feeding me, bathing me, and even licking her thumb and scrubbing my face with it when I needed to look presentable. I remember spending almost every weekend from the age of twelve on, when she and Bob married, at their home, learning how to be a parent by watching her raise her children. I remember her door was never locked, but most importantly, her arms were always open to me at any age, or time of day.
In that instant, all the episodes of my life that she had been a part of, brought me to a very simple conclusion. My sisters outside was but a shell, but shining through those eyes was the unconditional love that she has always given me and which is the essence of who she is.
- ► 2012 (31)
- ▼ June (4)
- Karen Rothfus
- Alta Loma, California, United States
- I am a wife of 28 years to Kevin, a pilot, a mother of 22 year old Kellan and 15 year old Keaton. I am caretaker to a zoo of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, birds, turtles, etc. I am a gardener, a cook, a writer, a painter, a teacher, and I am truly blessed to be able to live life the way I wish too.