The Garden City Telegram
5/9/2014
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Sister's life lost too soon, but it was a life lived to the fullest

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I lost my sister, Darlene, last week.

She fought off cancer as long as she could, but in the end it took her.

Even when she moved to a nursing home so she could get the professional care and comfort she needed, her spirit endured.

Because, you see, that's who Darlene was.

She found joy in the everyday simplicity of life.

When we visited her in the nursing home, it was not the dour, depressing visit that sometimes accompanies seeing someone with a terminal illness.

We all knew the end was coming for her. Darlene knew it was coming.

In fact, her pastor marveled that during a visit with her she told him she was dying. Matter of factly, told him she was dying and she had accepted it.

She accepted that her life was coming to an end way too soon, and yet, her spirit never wavered.

It was her faith in God that helped her, and the gift he had given her to enjoy so much of what life has to offer.

Whether it was enjoying cupcakes, the smoothies she really took to or having her family around her, she enjoyed it all.

If she had her moments of "why me?" — and who could blame her — she did not let it dictate how she was going to live her remaining days.

Despite what cancer was doing to her body, it never took away what made her special.

She took interest in anything that was going on in the family.

She and her husband, Dave, never missed a family gathering, no matter how long the drive.

Darlene made me birthday cakes when I was a kid.

I spent a week with her and Dave when I was growing up, and she spent the week doing what I wanted to do.

She loved to read and was constantly working on some knitting or needlepoint project.

I used to watch her work on these things and wondered how she could create these doilies, clothes or blankets.

She would sit quietly working on these projects for hours, and before you knew it, it was finished, and I marveled at what she created from a couple of knitting needles and miles of yarn.

She made my daughter, Claire, a quilt — a beautiful quilt she'll have forever.

Darlene was always quick with a laugh and enjoyed so much.

There won't be a family gathering that will ever be the same again.

We will learn that quickly as Claire and her fiance, Trevor, graduate from college this weekend, and Darlene won't be at the party.

As time goes along, we will be able to think about Darlene and talk about her, and it won't hurt quite as much.

We can take comfort that she is no longer suffering, and that she is reunited with our parents and two of our brothers.

We lost her too soon, but we were so blessed to have her in our lives as long as we did.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram