For Maxine, our beautiful Sister.
For three years, our beautiful Sister, Maxine , has been living with an horrendous fight against cancer . Today, a few short hours ago, this dreadful disease won and Maxine slipped peacefully away and out of pain….
My head is full of images of her: the most beautiful, creative, spirited and mischievous of the three of us. The one who always looked gorgeous, however she was feeling or life was treating her. Fiercely loving, with the heart of a lioness , Maxine created three incredible children, whose spirit and strength is every bit that of their mother’s….. Adventurous, interested in the world around her – and always ready to be naughty, she was alive, in every sense.
Laughing at her illness, even as it ravaged her body in the most terrible manner, taking flesh and bone almost daily, our sister showed us how strong her love for us all was, by continuing to fight without self pity or , seemingly, fear.
I joked with Maxine that she was a Warrior in a past life and that this was the energy she was channeling through to help her now. In truth, she was probably terrified but was so driven in love for her family, returned by her in abundance, that she took the journey day by day, always looking on the positive side and ready to laugh at the bad things.
Like many families, ours is spread across too many miles and too much distance but in the past couple of weeks, we’ve all had a little precious time to spend with Maxine, sharing our visits with the constant, loving presence of her partner and her children. As ever, she twinkled with love and wanted to laugh with us, whether with black humour about her illness or loudly over something we’ve done or said. Though many things were talked about and shared, the spaces between the words were all filled with love and goodbyes.
The reality is, I’ll never say goodbye to her. She is my little sister. The one I terrorised with pretend snakes when she was tiny and I learned that she was scared of them. The one who charmed my first boy crushes and told them stories about me. We sat in front of the fire with our baby sister, drying our hair in the heat and brushing each others hairs to help the process. We survived a strange upbringing and became better friends as the years rolled on. She built and protected her gorgeous family, wrapping them in love in an instinctive way which was incredible to see. It was almost too late when I realised how alike we were – and that the differences were to be celebrated not frightened of.
My beautiful sister is part of me and always will be. I will sense her laughter and terrible singing. I’ll ”see” her when we travel, knowing how much she loved to travel and which were her special places. Though I didn’t share her courage and confidence, I’ll try to live out loud a little more, embracing the moments and drawing on the grace with which she lived in her final months here. And I’ll walk beside her children, ready to catch them but wishing Maxine was there to hold them.
We made a couple of pacts before she took her angel wings ……. and I intend to honour them with the very core of my being. My heart is broken to lose her but she needed to rest, so I’m grateful that she is out of pain. She’ll be with us all every step: her inner beauty and spirit reflecting in the eyes and souls of her children and grandchildren.
Our Mum , baby sis and the whole family are devastated to have lost Maxine but we thank God for her and are richer for her loving spirit. x
Words mean little right now but Maxine’s life was precious and honour it, I will x