I woke up this morning with one of those “hard to describe” feelings until I looked at the calendar and realized that it was thirty three years ago today that my sister Bev died. No wonder I’ve been thinking about her so much lately. I guess there are things that become so deeply ingrained in our souls that regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we always remember. I was twenty one years old at the time and my best friend Joe came to Waterloo with me so that I could see Bev before an operation that would honour her request to donate organs. I met Al on a hospital patio where he was talking to a clergy and learned that I was too late… recipients had been found and Bev was in surgery. I remember talking normally and wondering how tears could be running down my face… it was like I had no control. After the surgery I had the chance to see Bev. As we walked down the hallway, Joe on one side of me and the clergy on the other, I couldn’t feel my legs move. Bev had been returned to a hospital bed with the head end raised as though she was sitting up a bit. Nobody had warned me that when you die, your muscles relax making your eyes and your mouth open. That startled me and I didn’t go past the door.
I remember at home getting into the truck and going to school to pick up Barb who was 12 at the time and Marvin who was 8. Marvin was mad because it was Track & Field day. He said “why do I have to go home” and I sternly replied “because that’s what people do”. Today I would have let him stay. We had the same kind of funeral for Bev that everybody else had and that was okay because it was what people did then. But one thing that has always bothered me is that for whatever reason, the person in that casket didn’t look like my sister. I understand more now.
Those events, thirty three years ago have influenced who I am today… it has made me care more and it has instilled in me the desire to go above and beyond to help others.