It's been almost 9 years

by Kristina Echevarria
(Chicago IL)

My sister,Kathryn, and I(Kristina) were 2 1/2 years apart so we did everything together. When I was 7 and she was 5 she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. I didn't know what that means and now that I'm 21 I'm still not quite sure and tell you the truth I really don't want to know.
Growing up my sister and I were very close, shared a room, shared a bed, clothes, toys, toothbrush, everything. Then once she was diagnosed we couldn't share everything anymore. We stopped sharing a room, my bed, our clothes (because she lost so much weight) we couldn't share a toothbrush.
My sister had beautiful beautiful curly brown hair and big chubby cheeks you just want to bite. Once she started chemo all that beautiful hair was gone and her chubby cheeks wasted away. She never had energy but always managed to play with me when I visited her at the hospital. After a while she was in remission we were all ecstatic and being so young I thought that was the last of it. About a year later she was out of remission and back in the hospital.. Believe it or not we actually had a lot of fun in day hospital, back then I didn't know what she was getting there, but I know now she was getting her chemo, we played monopoly watched movies played with barbies it was so much fun.. It's so weird to think now she was getting toxic poisons pumped into her body.
She followed this trend of remission and relapse a few times until when I was in 6th grade and she was in 4th.
My dad had been telling me every 8 months now that my sister didn't have too much longer to live so when this last time he told me that this might be it I was really skeptical. But on April 28, 2003 while in school I got a call from the principals office telling me to go down to her office. I was scared I thought I was in trouble, so I went down and Ms. Rita the Secretary told me to go into her office.
I remember exactly line by line what she said to me, "Kristina, your mom called today. She said Kathryn was very weak. She couldn't talk and didn't want to get up out of bed. Your uncle Ramon is on his way to pick you up. Don't worry about your things."
At that moment I knew that was it. I just prayed to whatever was up there to let me make it home before she died. To let me say goodbye to her one last time to let her say I love you, to hug her, just to see her breathe. My uncle raced home ran red lights, making the normal 15 minute drive 7 minutes long.
I got home and my mom hugged me and told me that I should say my goodbyes. My mom kicked my family out of the house making everyone stand outside on the porch.
So I walked up to her bed grabbed her hand and told her how much i loved her and how sorry i was for not always being the greatest big sister for not always playing with her and that i was going to miss her i kissed her hand and cheek and her forehead and just cried.
she died the next day April 29, 2003 at 5:32 pm. She was 9 1/2
not a day goes by that I don't think about her I miss her so much and it hurts so much still.
Thanks for taking the time to read this

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