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Author: Subject: Farewell to My Dear Sister

True Peach





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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:16 PM
“When the red, red robin comes bob, bob bobbin' along, along,
There'll be no more sobbing when he starts throbbing
His own sweet song.
Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head,
Get up, get up, get out of bed,
Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red,
Live, love, laugh and be happy.
What if I've been blue,
Now I'm walking through fields of flowers,
Rain may glisten, but I still listen for hours and hours.
I'm just a kid again, doing what I did again, singing a song,
When the red, red robin comes bob, bob bobbin' along.”


One of my earliest memories is of my sister, Wanda singing this song in an elementary school pageant. I’ve done the math and determined that I couldn’t have been more than four years old at the time. I don’t remember much about the entire pageant, but I can still see Wanda (only 6 or 7 years old at the time) standing along at the front of the stage singing this delightful song to an auditorium full of people.

As a four year-old, I knew that my sister was a star!

Singing songs was one of my sister’s favorite past-times. As a child, Wanda was a fine singer. She drew mainly on the “girl bands” of the Motown label, but her repertoire also included songs by the likes of Patsy Cline, Connie Francis and even Janis Joplin. On long family driving trips, Wanda would harmonize with my father on folk, gospel and country and western songs of the day.

Like my late brother, Butch, Wanda was talented in music and athletics. The two of them were the best athletes in our neighborhood. In choosing up sides for neighborhood pick-up games of basketball, baseball and even football – it was not uncommon for Wanda to have been picked ahead of many of the guys in the neighborhood … including yours truly!

During Butch’s deployment to Vietnam, there arose an argument over who was the fastest runner in our high school. This argument resulted in an impromptu after school track meet that included two of the schools running backs and a couple of runners from the track team. Wanda walked up and claimed “dibs” on the winner. The running back who won the initial heats was shocked to lose three out of three to my older sister.

Wanda became my hero in several instances.

When I was about 6 years old, there was this giant, evil fifth grader that roamed our neighborhood. This kid had this weird habit of walking around with his hands clasped behind his head. Put your hands behind your head as if you were reclining to take a nap and you’ll get the general idea of how this kid looked.

As mischievous 6 year-olds, several friends and I decided it would be funny to parade behind this kid mocking him with our hands clasped behind our heads. This was great fun until the kid turned around and saw us.

Upon seeing our display of mockery, this evil fifth grader became angry. During the ensuing foot chase, I tripped and fell. The fifth grader seized the opportunity and fell on top of me.

What happens next requires for you to use your imagination. Picture a perspective of looking up at a kid who is at once sitting on your chest and grimacing while pulling his fist back. Now imagine this grimace suddenly turning into a look of confusion and then suddenly being yanked off of your chest. Wanda had seen the entire incident. She calmly walked over and grabbed this giant, evil fifth grader by his right ear and lifted him off of me. She then basically dribbled this fifth grader around the street for several minutes.

Wanda became my hero later in life by successfully raising three daughters and putting them all through college. Her daughters were cheerleaders, beauty queens and valedictorians. One of the girls recently became my family’s first PHD. Wanda did an outstanding job with her girls.

It’s only been about 10 weeks since the first news of Wanda’s cancer came. This was less than three weeks after my younger sister, Cathy’s revelation that she had cancer.

I thought that even in a worst-case scenario that Wanda would enjoy another year or two of a healthy productive life. The cancer had other ideas. Despite efforts by the doctors and surgeons, Wanda’s cancer spread aggressively in recent weeks. I think the tumor that appeared in her brain several weeks ago might have been the final straw.

The radiation treatments that were to have rid her brain of the tumors were for naught. The chemo treatments for her lungs would never even occur, as the cancer quickly found its way to Wanda’s liver and other critical organs.

I have tried to find positive things to say to my sister over the past weeks. My enthusiasm also began to fade.

A precious moment that I will always cherish came lat on Monday night. As I leaned over her to kiss her forehead, a song from years gone by just came into my head. I found myself singing the opening lines:

“When the red, red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin’ along …”

Wanda’s eyes opened. She seemed to smile as she said, “Oh, my God!” She then tried to touch my face with her hands.

On Tuesday, September 2 my sister was sent to her home in the care of a hospice nurse. I am sure that the familiar sounds and smells of her home made her more comfortable in her final days.

This afternoon my sister left this world. She died a quiet, dignified death in her home with her husband, Bob and her three beautiful daughters Brandy, Kerie and Meagan.

The last thing that I want to do here is to describe the emotional and physical pain that my sister’s absence has left on my heart and soul. I feel that an important and dear piece of my own life – especially my childhood has been ripped from me. Her absence will leave a burning hole that will not be extinguished for a long, long time.

When I wish that one day you will all know this pain, I am not being cruel or sadistic. To know pain of this level you must first know love. May you all be blessed by a love that will one day leave you hurting like this.

 

____________________
Music is love, and love is music, if you know what I mean.
People who believe in music are the happiest people I've ever seen.

Bill Ector, Randy Stephens, Dan Hills and a guy named BobO who I never met - Forever in my heart!

 
Replies:

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:20 PM
well wishes to you

 

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Peach Pro



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:28 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss....your post is an amazing and touching tribute.
 

True Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:28 PM
So sorry for your loss Rusty. I feel your pain through reading your post. I lost my younger brother in 1996 and know the pain you feel. Only time and all the happy memories with your sister will heal the pain. Hang in there.

RIP Wanda

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:33 PM
What lovely memories of your sister, Rusty. So sorry to hear about your loss. I'm glad your family was able to take advantage of the wonderful services Hospice provides.

 

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We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can't bomb it into peace. - Michael Franti

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:43 PM
Rusty, I'm typing through tears. What beautiful words you wrote about Wanda. Your love for her shines through. I remember your loving words about your brother as well. I'm so sorry for you loss. Hugs to you and Donna and your family.

Rest is peace, Wanda.

 
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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:51 PM
I am sorry for your loss Rusty. Thoughts and prayers for you and your families.

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:52 PM
Thoughts and prayers go out to you Rusty...

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:54 PM
Rusty, I am very sorry that your hero is no longer physically with you. But your beautiful tribute shows me Wanda will nevertheless remain with you forever. Thank you for sharing Wanda's story with us. Best to you and your family.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:54 PM
So sorry to hear about your loss Russ. Prayers to your family!
 

Peach Master



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 09:58 PM
Rusty, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, my thoughts and prayers continue for you and your family.
 

A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 10:17 PM
That you wrote such an elequent and moving tribute at this time says volumes about you, sir. My heart is with you, I am so sorry.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 10:23 PM
Prayers and peace to you and yours in this time of sorrow Brother Rusty.
May she live forever in your hearts. . . .

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 10:38 PM
That's a shame, brother. I know you've had a few rough years. My heart is with you and your family.

Randy

 

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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 10:57 PM
(((Rusty, Cathy, Bob, Brandy, Kerie, Meagan)))

 

____________________
The heavens declare the glory of God
the skies proclaim the work of his hands
Day after day they pour forth speech
night after night they display knowledge
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard

[img]http://science.nature

 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 11:09 PM
Wow. I am terribly sorry Rusty. What a beautiful piece you wrote about her and your relationship. Prayers also with your other sister. Sorry to hear about so much bad news from your family. May peace and grace be with you.

Tim

 

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Tim L.

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 9/4/2008 at 11:15 PM
OOOOHHHHHHHH Rusty and Donna and ALL the family. I am SO SORRY for your loss and please know we are all hugging you HARD and holding you SO CLOSE.
Thank you so much for such an amazing and thoughtful, sad and loving story.........and i am so glad you felt safe in sharing such a loss with all of us. Perhaps it will help to split your pain a little to make it less awful for you and your family. It will just be SAD for a while, but you know how much love there is in your heart, and in your family and that should help.
Wanda is watching you and loving you and holding you too.........
prayers and love flowing your way my dear friend..........

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 12:36 AM
I'm very sorry to hear about your sister Wanda, Rusty. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time. What a beautiful tribute.
 

A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 12:46 AM
Rusty, that is such a beautiful tribute to Wanda. Having lost a sister myself, I feel your pain. My prayers are with your whole family. Kevin

 

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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 01:11 AM

Rusty, I love you with all my heart. Although I never met Wanda, she is family to me. God bless and keep you.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 02:35 AM
Rusty ... that is a wonderful tribute to Wanda ... and whilst the pain of her physical loss will ease with the passage of time ... that is only because the love in your heart for Wanda will go on forever ... Peace to you my friend.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 03:03 AM

Speechless. God, what a post.

My respects to you and your family.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 03:23 AM
Peace be with you my friend. I am sorry for your loss Rusty. Thoughts and prayers for you and your families.



 

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The Road Goes On Forever and It's A Long Strange Trip Indeed.

 
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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 04:59 AM
Rusty, I am so sorry about the loss of your beloved sister, Wanda.

 

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"You shouldn't confuse things that are popular with things that are really good"--paraphrasing Bob Dylan.

 

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  posted on 9/5/2008 at 05:00 AM
I can feel your pain through your post Rusty...

Thoughts and prayers from my family to yours.

Vito

 

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Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans

 
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