The Loss of My Sister, My Best Friend
by Jude Edenfield
(Glade Valley, NC)
I am writing about the loss of my Sister Nan who died on Jan. 12, 2010. She was the bravest and strongest person I have ever met..
Nan had diabetes since she was 17 yrs. old and I have watched this disease take her down over the years , but never once in all those years did I ever hear her complain about anything.. Always so positive about everything in life.
In 1988, Nan's kidney's failed due to her diabetes..Of course when asked if I could be a donor, there was not a second thought of giving my kidney to her so that she could live. Surgery was a success and everyone kept telling me how brave I was to do such an act of kindness and all I could ever say was that Nan was the brave one because she was the one that had to get up and had the will to fight for life every day.
Twenty years passed with the new life of Nan and her new kidney. In Nov. of 2006, Nan suffered a stroke in her home of California and as I talked with her that day, I knew something was not right and so I called her then ex husband to please go and check on her. After waiting what seemed to be endless hours to hear from her, they did call to tell me that she had suffered from a stroke.
Again, the fight never ceased and the positive outlook coming from her was so unreal.. In January of 2007, I flew to California to get my sister and bring her home to our family because the stroke left her weak on one side and with all the other health issues, she did not need to be living alone.
I brought her home to NC and she lived with my mother which I knew she couldn't be happy not having her on personal space and leaving her life she had known for 30 odd years.. But again, never a complaint.
I am self employed , so Nan went with me every day to my shop. I would go to my mom's every day and help her get ready, do her hair, get her clothes, and for her to get to go with me was such a treat for me.. We had a 20 min. drive every morning and all she could ever talk about how pretty the trees were when driving on our drive..It was not an easy task to get her there every day, but to see the will in her to want to go, I never complained..
In 2008, Nan's health declined again, and we were back in hospitals seem like every month. The gift of life that I gave to her in 1988 had finally give out so we had to put her back on dialysis until she was eligible for another kidney transplant. Nan had become legally blind by now and it was difficult for her to see anything so we did Peritoneal Dialysis at home; so every night I would do her dialysis for her and still never ever a complaint. I would just pray and pray to please give my sister a break.
In Nov. of that year a small lump came up on her neck and I took her to have it looked at and if anything else could go wrong it did..It was cancer at the base of her tongue. So we went through radiation of 35 treatments and chemo. I would sit every day with her and read things to her or we would just talk or she would sleep. Again, never a complaint from her. The last day of her treatment, I cried for her because she had 3rd degree burns on her neck from the radiation and she never opened her mouth about the pain. We beat the cancer but the treatment was so intense on her body she was just tired and her little body couldn't take it anymore..
We went back in the hospital in Sept. of 09 and by this time she was so weak I knew she would never get any stronger but I did not want to believe this and when the doctors told me this I fought them and told them, I know that you are telling me from your professional opinion and I can respect that , but you don't know her and she will fight to the end.. In Oct. we came home from the hospital with the care of Hospice. No one knew what this did to me..My mom and I cared for her 24/7 until her last day on this earth.. She never was wet,she had a bath every day, we would sit and just talk and when she was so weak she slept most of the day but still the fight was there.
The morning of the 12th, I bathed Nan, fed her, and she was the best she had been in awhile. I left for a couple of hours and when I came back she wasn't breathing well, so I gave her a breathing treatment, set her up in the bed and went in the living room to get the hospice nurse telephone number and when I went back in the bedroom she took her last breath of life.
That night , I lost my sister, my best friend in the whole world. I still cry as I am on my way to work, especially when I see the trees... I know she is in Heaven and she isn't sick anymore and that is my comfort.
I still have a lot of days that I can't do anything but cry for her.
Her birthday was June 10 and she would have been 61. My closest friends took me out to eat because they knew that that was a difficult day for me. We made reservations for 5 even though there was only 4 of us, we set Nan at the head of the table in spirit.. Then we went to the mountains where she loved the trees and released balloons for her. I love you Nanner and I miss you so much. I ask God all the time to please give you a hug from me and to tell you that I love you!!! May God Rest your Sweet Soul Nanner..