Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Love of my Sister

My parents are Canadians of Turkish ancestry. So, naturally they have relatives in the old world; some in Germany, some in France, in Austria, in Netherlands, and quite a few in Turkey. Being someone who is American, but having German, Dutch, French, Turkish, American, Canadian cousins just makes me a person of the world rather than just one place. But my particular story begins in the old world...

It was late spring. My cousin Kadir who came to spend the summers from Germany, my brother Murat and I were playing under the lilac tree in my grandparents' yard. I was 4 and a half years old, but I can still remember the distinct smell of those purple lilacs. Later in the day it got a little windy. I so loved it. The yard was filled with fruit trees planted by my grandparents, various colors of roses planted by my grandmother and my mother, and their summer vegetable garden of that year. The plum tree was in half bloom and some of them were in fruition; the small plums were falling off the as the gentle wind swayed the tree. My brother Murat and I danced around under the tree twirling, and laughing hard. I clearly remember pink panther jean skirt I had on that my uncle got me in Germany during a visit. It was my very favorite. My brother, cousin and I were having so much fun, I can still remember the thrill and excitement of the wind, the intoxicating smell of the beautiful lilacs, and something extraordinary was about to happen. It was the day my sister was born.

We always played house under the lilacs. My grandparents had a large land, and spring and summer were the fun seasons; because we could run around, climb the trees, enjoy our grandparents spoiling us grand-kids to death, go to the cemetery which was right across from their ranch style house and make the preacher mad as he didn't want kids playing around the graves. We got a kick out of making him mad waving his hands, and pointing his fingers lecturing us. There was something funny about his animated actions.

It was mid afternoon. The midwife who was a friend of my mother's who always came to check on her was there again. My mother wanted to be near her mom when my sister was born. Being kids, we didn't care much about the midwife's presence. And something different happened that day. We heard my sister's first cry. Cousin Kadir was the first one to scream in delight:

"The baby is here! The baby is here!!" That was the day I met my sister. I was still too young, but I remember asking her name to my mom, and she said "Huriye". I could not say the name as I was only 4 1/2 years old, so I replied, "Huriş" (pronounce: who-rish); no matter how many times I was corrected, that was all I could pronounce. That's how she got her nickname and it remained with her to this day. I so wanted her to grow up so she could play with me. I have loved her since her first cry on that spring day. I wanted to help my mom feed and change her, I taught her first song, and when I pretended to be an archaeologist in the long summers, she was always my trusted assistant who came with a drawing paper and a piece of charcoal to copy the images and the writing from the ruins of Colossae (remember the Colossians in Bible; that's the place), Leodicia, and Ephesus as we traveled around the ancient Greek and Roman ruins.

Our bond got stronger over the years as each one of us faced life's challenges; I cut her first baby's umbilicord when she was born in Arizona, and gave her daughter’s first bottle. We comforted each other when we nearly lost our dad in Canada. We've become best friends, and each other’s staunchest allies.

My sister who was expecting her second baby mid August this year went to the hospital on August 7th 2009 which became another day I will remember till I die. That’s the day my sister died… and was yet by nothing short of a miracle, she was given back to us. Some bonds I found out crosses life and death. That stubborn grandmother of mine, whom my sister was named after, loved my sister so much, even as she was dying, and her sight was gone, asked my mom if the “child” (my sister) was safe at home. She held our hands as she passed away many years ago. So, the night my baby sister went to the hospital with her husband in Canada to have her baby, I was completely unaware of the events that were about to be unfolded. We watched a kid’s movie at home that night: “The Bee Movie”. I had fallen asleep during the movie. I woke up around 1 a.m. when my 7 year old daughter came to our bed. Having been woken up, I couldn't go back to sleep.

Then the motion sensor nightlight in the hallway turned on. I thought, “ok, there is going to be no room in this bed tonight, another one of our kids are coming to bed with us”. There were no footsteps, and no kid that was coming in. I checked my watch for the time. Only 11 minutes after this incident the lights in the hallway turned back on again. Of course there was no one coming, and no footsteps could be heard. From my bed, I observed the light with my Timex and within about 30 seconds the lights went out. Just as started to doze off again the lights came back on. Looking at my watch confirmed that only 6 minutes of time had passed. I sat up in my bed, leaned in towards the door to see who was walking and turning the lights on in the middle of the night. Again, there was no one. I laid back down, puzzled. Not thirty seconds passed after I laid down, I felt this tap tap tap on my foot. I leaned on my elbow, held my head up to look up and to my amazement, and shock mixed with horror I saw my grandmother who has been dead for over twenty years!

The only thing I could utter was "grandma? Is it you?"

The next thing I could think to whisper was “you keep waking me up with the lights in the hallway; you should just turn the bathroom light on," I said pointing towards the master bathroom. The next thing I saw was the master bathroom’s lights turning on without her leaving my foot-side of my bed. By then I was thinking “holly crap! holly crap!! Dear God! What just happened! Did I just order my dead grandmother to turn the bathroom light on?” I got completely awake and expecting Ashton Kutcher to pop out of the closet yelling "in your face! You got punked!”

I didn’t know whether I was too tired and hallucinating or, if this was really happening, I blinked several time to look and see clearly:

“Grandma?! hi? what are you doing here?” I said in a weak voice. I meant to say, which I already said in my head "...back on earth as opposed to heaven where you're supposed to be!'

“Huriş went to the hospital to have her baby.” That changed the direction of my thoughts. Everyone knows how very important my sister is to me.

“But, she isn't due for another 2 weeks!" I said thoughtfully. Gran spoke clearly, uttering every word distinctly as if she didn't want to repeat it.

“It’s not that. She’s going to have a very hard time. Her soul will leave her body,” she said slowly, but very clearly that I had no way of mistaking the sense of her speech. My eyes got wide with her declaration.

I might have uttered "what the hell are you saying?!?" But believe me that was the best way to describe the magenta feeling I had; in the first place your dearly departed very dead grandmother whom you loved very much shows up 20 odd years after she's gone, and that in itself is a little *for the lack of a better expression* "crazy", thus I think I was perfectly within my rights to feel that strange, with that magenta feeling that I call - many emotions tumbled all in one...

The word "upset" couldn't do justice in describing what I was feeling: I felt morose, helpless, ill equipped to help with or resolve the problem at hand if what I heard was real. It's a hard place to be; in this particular circumstance I found myself totally ill equipped to handle the news. How does one handle the news of a beloved sister's soul leaving her body? Didn't that mean death? I would have loved to compare notes with someone who had experienced this shit before, but I didn't have that particular demographic within my reach. I was forced to contemplate about life's fragility when the only thing I wanted to do is to get some shut eye and forget this ever happened. So, "what the hell" in this case is not a cussing expression but a state of mind.

With my dead of the night epitaph, a shot of adrenaline coursed through my blood, the realization kicked in, and my heart started pounding - I began to fear for my sister's life; I no longer cared that I was talking to the ghost of my grandmother who somehow physically manifested herself in my bedroom who simply told me that I may not have a living sister tomorrow. That foretelling had to have a simple explanation. I must have been asleep, yet I knew I was awake. Was it bad Chinese food? But, Mr. Chang had known us by name for years, and his food had always been amazing and my stomach felt fine. In my mind, I was looking for a reason to dismiss what I was seeing, hearing, and feeling. I had to hold on to disbelief. Because it's easier. Copeable.Realistic. Logical. Measurable. This experience was none of that. How could I dismiss the grandma I loved standing before me, and talking and sternly warning me? The details of her face, her gestures, the intonation of her voice, the rising pitch when she wanted to give you a sense of urgency that I had long forgotten were right before me. 

“What!!?! Is she going to die? Did you come to get her? Someplace? anyplace besides Canada?” I realize that I didn't make much sense: the situation itself wasn't making much sense to begin with... I had a 28 scenarios in my head to dismiss the experience, my mind running 100 miles a minute. It was the darkest hour of the night before the dawn, my dead grandmother staring down at me at the foot of my bed, telling me that my pregnant sister who is due in a couple of weeks might not survive... I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of think of my sister being gone, as in none existent. My grandma had never made any stops, hellos, goodbyes before this night, ever! And, no, I don't see dead people everyday like the movie "6th Sense". And yet, a dearly departed soul appeared in my room and was delivering an ominous news about my only sister, my best friend. I felt my heart yanked out of my body and shattered in ways I had never experienced before. This had to be grief.

“Don’t worry, don’t worry; she’ll recover, don’t worry..." my grandmother said soothingly. "But she will have a very hard time. Be prepared for it, when all is said and done, she will be ok.”

Through my grief, I sensed her comforting voice and then she was gone. I looked at my watch which said 2:11 a.m. I though, should I call my sister, and my parents to find out? I wanted this experience to be a dream. So if they confirmed that she was home, then it would be ok, and that meant I just had a nightmare. But then I thought, what if it really was a dream and panicked them for no reason? I decided to call my parents after I took my kids to school at a reasonable time. It was hard to go back to sleep, so come 5:00 a.m. I was up, on the computer reading news, made my çay (chai) contemplating.

Right at 6 a.m. my phone rang, and I saw my sister's name on the Caller ID; answered the phone before it rang a second time, "so girl; did you have your baby this morning?" I said as a greeting. The voice on the other end said “no, dear, this is your mother”.

That rang all the alarm bells in my head. I first said 'hi? mom, good morning? What's up? What's going on? Why are you calling so early?" But I already knew what was going on. She spoke slowly, but quite upset, and worried, trying to be composed for my sake like she always did.

“Your sister went to the hospital to have her baby at 2 a.m. our time, and its 9 a.m. here, but we haven’t heard anything from her husband. I'm sorry I would have called you later, but I hoped that you'd be up for work, so, I'm calling you at 6 a.m. your time. I just couldn't wait any longer, I'm too upset! We stayed home with Ilayda (7 1/2 year old niece). Abe's (sis' husband) cell phone is turned off, and I just can’t reach her at the hospital, could you call and check whether she's registered McMaster University Hospital for me? That's where she was supposed to go for delivery.”

I told her “mom, I'm sure she’ll be ok (though, my mind already knew it was a false statement), I’ll find out in a little while”. Upon checking the university hospital, they didn’t have her name in their records, and because the maternity ward was busy that day, the nurse said that she might have been sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital. So, this time I called St. Joseph’s, and she was registered there. I spoke to the maternity nurse, and asked her to go my sister to get her verbal permission to inform me over the phone to find out about her which she did, and had turn her cell phone on for a few minutes so I could talk to her to make sure she was ok. My sister told me that she was in a lot pain but had to wait to be almost 8 cm to have her epidural, and now she was waiting to get to 10 cm so she could deliver.

This was the last time I spoke to my sister before her heart stopped during the delivery of her baby. I regret being complacent, and exercising all my reasonable faculties, using logic like any normal person would do, and the rising sun chasing away all the ghosts categorizing her under the catalogue of nightmares and I have concluded to myself that my sister will be just fine, that she exercised, did pilates everyday, ate healthy, had a normal delivery the first time, and since the nurse gave me the assurance that she would deliver in the next two hours, I didn't even remember to tell her I loved her, but I know she knew it. I still have pangs of pain and regret when I think about that. I ignored "the tricks of my mind" and locked away that experience with other illogical/impossible events category, and pushed it away. Though I did tell my sister jokingly that there were heavenly anticipations for her to have her baby.

My sister told me that though she was in pain, it was different than what she had with the first baby. I told her that she would be ok, the nurse told me that she'd deliver in 2 hours, and the baby was positioned her head down, so to hang in there for a little while longer, I told her that I'd call her after I had my car serviced and call to find out as soon as I got home. I had informed my mom and told her of the incident that had happened over night which concerned her a lot but I told her that she would be ok, to not to worry. I couldn't be there with her because I live in the southwestern U.S., and she lives in Ontario, Canada, and her delivery was early, and I couldn't get up there in a moment's notice. When I came back home from the car dealer's service center, there were several messages from my mom, and since I had forgotten my cell phone at home, no one could reach me through my cell phone either. Without listening to the messages I called my mom. She was deeply concerned because there was no call from the hospital or from my sister’s husband. If the 2 hours forecast was right, she should have had her baby 6 hours ago, yet there was no word from anyone. That's when you get the something is very wrong feeling, but you can't put your finger on it.

I called Abe's cell phone, but it was turned off, and the hospital despite my sister’s verbal permission that morning wouldn’t provide any information which concerned me a lot - because that's the procedure when either something is horribly wrong, or someone is dead. The next 4 hours were quite difficult to wait with no response. I had called my brother in law every 10-15 minutes. He finally had turned his phone on. I asked him if they had the baby, but he was having a hard time talking between his sobs. Firmly and forcefully I ordered, "Abe! What happened? Just tell me..."

He told me that my sister had her baby but lost a lot of blood and she was in the ICU. There was not much explanation until the next day for any of us, so basically each family member in different corners of the world grieved alone and spent a sleepless night with loads of worry and tears.

The next day we’ve learned that my sister’s baby was big, and the delivery was not happening. So, the doctor changed gears and they rolled her in for a c-section.

During the c-section she’s lost a lot of blood, and the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Her heart just couldn’t take the amount of blood loss and it just stopped at which point the doctors and nurses scrambled, and no news was coming from the delivery room. My sister was gone. The surgeon walked out and told her husband that the baby was born but there were complications after they closed her up; she was bleeding profusely. Her heart stopped and they were making every effort to revive her. He wanted to get his permission to open her up again. My brother in law told me that the conversation was completely surreal, this just couldn’t be! People have children everyday... The doctor was already trembling, and my brother in law just wanted my sister to be saved, and told him to do whatever is necessary to save her. The doctors were giving her a blood transfusion, performing CPR, put her on heart and lung machine, one doctor was defibrillating, and the surgeon was performing a hysterectomy all at the same time in an effort to revive her and save her life.

Her heart had stopped for nearly 30 minutes -- the first time! By the time she was revived, and the second surgery was complete, her heart stopped for a total of 3 times. After the hysterectomy there were clamps at the end of the blood vessels which spew out the clips after the pulse came back up. That caused another massive hemorrhage, and she was opened up a 3rd time to stop the bleeding once again. During the 3rd surgery her heart stopped twice more, and she was revived again. Once the bleeding was stopped, she was put on life support in the ICU. My parents were too distraught, and grief stricken. My dad was crying “my baby is dead!” in utter sorrow as if someone ripped out his heart out and stuck in the inferno of Hades! My mom was unable to function. My brother cried so much that the distress swollen his face and his left eye closed shut, a lot of his hair turned gray overnight. I cried a lot, but was numb, and in the back of my mind I kept repeating that this was going to happen. She'll get better... She'll get better... She's not gonna die! She's not gonna die! She's not gonna die! It was my mantra. The only thing I could hold onto. All of a sudden what I thought was a nightmare, became my only hope. 

The first critical two days in life support without knowing the outcome were agonizing. When she came out of her coma we were cautiously optimistic. She still had a long way to recover. She had to learn to sit, move her arms, and walk with the help of some physical therapy. Her husband had been with her every minute; even worried that she'd go to sleep and not wake up. She had her blood replaced 5 times. The hospital reports stated that there were 17 doctors, and 50 nurses involved in her care. Our outlook was grim. All medical literature tell us that after 6 minutes of no heartbeat, the brain functions stop and brain cells start dying. Hers had been a miracle. What is a miracle anyway: It's defined as A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences. The human body needs oxygen to sustain itself. The decrease of oxygen to at least one body part is known as hypoxia. The total lack of oxygen is known as anoxia. Brain cells are destroyed after 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen. When the flow of oxygen to the brain is completely cut off, a person will lose consciousness within 10 seconds. Extended hypoxia leads to brain damage and ultimately death. The brain is the body's largest user of oxygen, even though it makes up less than 5 percent of the body's weight. The brain consumes 20 percent of the body's needed oxygen. Cerebral hypoxia is the deficiency of needed oxygen to the brain.

Symptoms in cases of mild cerebral hypoxia are inattentiveness, poor decision making and uncoordination. In severe instances of hypoxia, a person will be unresponsive and fall into a coma, stop breathing and not respond to light. Once there is only blood pressure and a heart beat, the person may be brain dead. The lack of oxygen to the brain can result in a person entering a vegetative state where the person's bodily functions such as breathing still exist, but the person is unresponsive. The majority of patients who reach this state often die within a year. The outlook for someone who has suffered from oxygen deprivation depends on how long the person went without oxygen and whether brain damage occurred, states the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. People can usually make a full recovery if they were unconscious momentarily. The more time a person spends in an unconscious state, the less the chance for a full recovery. While recovering, a person can suffer from psychological and neurological damage, including amnesia, hallucinations and muscle spasms.
But my sister wasn't gone momentarily. She was gone for nearly thirty minutes the first time her heart stopped, and it stopped five times! Yet she came back to life, she fought her way back, and she's functioning today, as a normal person.

We are just learning to rejoice the arrival of our little baby niece Ella who was born on August 7th 2009, was over 9 lbs and 22 inches long. My sister spent many days in the ICU, and 12 days in the hospital (step down and recovery units). She is back home, able to walk and talk after some therapy, and enjoy the arrival of her new baby with a lot of help from her loving husband.

Life is a strange journey; we held our children and one another a little closer, and know that one must cherish their days in life. A lot of friends prayed for her recovery, and despite the premonition from my grandmother I couldn't help but worry. During my sister’s second night in the hospital on life support, my 7 year old came and woke me up in the middle of night. "Mommy, could you please tell your grandma to stop playing with the lights to get you up? She’s been waking me up, and now I can’t sleep!”

I put my daughter back to bed, and went out to the living room to have some quiet moment and pray for my sister’s healing. I had the amazing feeling that she was going to get well.

I have changed my outlook of life. One does not get lost once they pass away which many faiths teach that, but my education in sciences, and the the constant nagging logic in my head always questioned its plausibility. My sister’s death and revival changed that. Her own family physician told her that she should not have been alive. She should have been brain dead after 6 minutes of no pulse. Yet, she is not.

I asked my sister today if she felt anything within the time she was without pulse, and during life support. She had seen herself watching the doctors’ efforts. She said that she felt completely alone, in sort of a tunnel. The color of it she described like the inside of a sea shell; with gold and silverish colors but duller. She said she heard a scream but didn't know it was her who screaming or someone else because she didn't know what was going on; not due to pain, but of not knowing of her surroundings. She said that she had earlier felt the pain from the procedures despite the fact the doctors told her husband she wouldn't feel anything. She saw herself being cut open during the 3 surgeries; she sensed the panic of the doctors.

There are many things that I don't have an explanation for, and certainly don’t understand well, and try to use scientific logic to comprehend, but the truth of the matter is, I am at a loss of words when it comes to explain all of this. Is it a different dimension, a parallel universe? I'm not sure... It's hard to see through our 3-dimensional comprehension and world. I mean, our eyes can't even see everything in the color spectrum (hence the need for the infrared cameras), roughly 80% of the mass of the universe is made up of materials the scientists can't directly observe and that's it's called dark matter. If we can't observe what's already around us, how could we know what happens to something or someone who just seized to exist? I realized that anything logical didn't have the explanation I was looking for in a quantifiable, measurable way. At that junction, a brief moment in time, I knew I felt the Creator: I had never felt this close to the Creator myself until this profound experience (not in an old man trying to run the universe, like in a Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" painting). With a spiritual connection, he (or she) made his (or her) presence known in the middle of the night -- not to say "look I exist, worship me", but to say, "you exist, and you matter to me: I am here to help you". As comforting as it to know someone you love will pull through something that would most likely kill her, it is also that terrifying to have come so close to lose someone you love.

I used to think (to put it in Jerry Seinfeld's words) that I am the master of my own domain, and realized that day that I am the master of no shit, but of my own attitude. A lot happens without our control, and actually only what your Creator, your destiny had determined and destined for you happens though we don’t know what that is until that very moment that particular experience comes. Philosophy and logic, and Physics (my favorite science), even astronomy (not astrology) and all the other sciences (the quantitative side of my brain still wants to measure, quantify, calculate and somehow make sense) that are just clouding my mind currently are at a loss of explanation right now. Why? Because, this all defies logic. What I have is, that I have my sister back. How can I measure that? How can I quantify the existence of life in a body that could have been an empty shell? How can measure her will to survive, her connection to life, the fight in her to exist here and now, and only in this dimension and at this particular time? How can I quantify, and put it in a formula?

Like the adage goes, "don't look at a gift horse in the mouth." She is a gift, and five times over to her two children, husband, her parents and siblings. I don’t know the Creator, our Maker, destines a person to die at a certain point in time. Whether our prayers make any difference, or does the Creator already know that you will live or die at that very moment. What is the grand scheme of our existence?

Thinking of the vast cosmos and how insignificant we are compared to all the other heavenly bodies, and yet my Creator somehow cares about the insignificant us, the insignificant me! I mean look how grand everything else is in the universe, and I'm too insignificant, we all are compared to everything else. Think of our earth which is a medium sized planet. Compared to Pluto it’s much bigger (if you still consider Pluto a planet).

But, compared to Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter (sizes in order of smaller to bigger) the earth would be the marble size when you scale the sizes down (Neptune would be size of a kid's ball, Uranus size of a soccer ball, and Jupiter a basketball.) If you compare Jupiter to sun, then Jupiter becomes marble size and our Earth is the size of a speck.

When you compare our sun’s size to stars like Sirius, Pollux and Arcturus, our sun is smaller than a pea, and Jupiter is about the size of 1 pixel, and our earth is just invisible in that scale.

When you compare Arcturus which is now the size of a pea to Rigel, Aldebaran, (both of which are now about the size of marbles to Betelgeuse and Antares,) our sun is just 1 pixel in size, and these starts are the bigger bodies of our cosmos.

Antares is the 15th brightest star in the sky. It is more than 1000 light years away (Lightyear: The distance light travels in a year. It is approximately 9,460,920,000,000 km or 5,880,000,000,000 miles.) So, in all of this, how big am I, and my problems?

Then if we were to look through the Hubble telescope we could see the ultra deep field infrared view of countless entire galaxies billions of light-years away.

The question that comes to my mind is that considering 98% of the world believes in a creator or a form of a God, why us, the insignificant us be so important? I apparently was not the only one who pondered that question; King David, father of King Solomon known to be the king who possessed incredible riches also asked those very questions. That's why I love the following passage from the Psalms:

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” - Psalm
The following passage from Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Also from Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26

I still thought, why though, why am I or anyone for that matter is valuable to the Creator should he exist. I realized this: It is an undoubted fact that man is insignificant as far as his size in relation to the universe. But in other ways, we are not insignificant: Because man draws the Creator’s attention in a way that is entirely unrelated to his physical size. Like a helpless, puking, pooping, crying, whining baby to a parent. There is a bond. You care for the baby, because the baby is a part of you, in a way it is you, your flesh and blood. But that's not the only reason. There is something that makes you, pulls you to a baby, a softness, a tenderness, a beauty. You desire to hold the baby, you want to get up in the middle of the night to feed, comfort, and change the baby. You have a primal instinct to love and protect that being.

It dawned on me when I realized that I have a bond to my Creator, the one who made me. He feels my pain. How odd, I thought. I am a parent too, so, my children are always in the back of my mind. I send them to school, feed them, care for them, worry about them, tend to their needs, and they will always be mine. I don't own them, I let them develop their own personality, I give them direction, I correct them, help them, but guided with their own free will. When they're happy, I'm happier, when they're sad, when someone hurts them, I'm fiercely protective of them. I only carried them for 9 months. I couldn't take credit of their creation. So, if I can love them more than life itself, why wouldn't their Creator? So that was it. The bond between the Maker and his child. Did our Creator come to my door to reassure me that all would be well? No, but he sent someone I wouldn't be afraid of hearing from. Someone whom he knew comforted me when I was little, watched me, played with me, woke me up to the same way tapping on my foot to give me snacks, and even when she was dying, she told us that she loved us. This is someone who knows what he was doing. He was soothing me. I didn't feel insignificant, I felt recognized, and valued. That was strangely comforting.

All in all, I am grateful that life exists here, and that somehow the Creator makes us feel somewhat significant in individual ways such as the way we have experienced dancing on the borderline of life and death tugging and pushing however painful it was; and how insignificant yet clear everything else seemed that day; and for one brief moment I got to see the meaning of life and why I am here. I may have been enlightened for a fraction of a minute; and considering the ageless universe, I'm glad I was given that opportunity. It's being recognized, like your most favorite singer, movie star, writer, sports figure, scientist that you're devoted to, or (but, you would never think he or she would even know your name or recognize you on the street), then you find out that you two have a bond, and you're recognized. That's how I felt. It was WONDERFUL!

Life is truly beautiful, and I have gained a new appreciation for it, for my family, for everyone I dearly love. I tried to find some logic in all of that experience. And in a different way, the Law of conservation of Energy exists. The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. (Thermodynamics 1st of the 3 Laws: 1st Law: Energy can neither be created or destroyed) When we use energy, it doesn’t disappear. We change it from one form of energy into another. So, maybe, just maybe, when we die, our energy turns into a different form that we are currently incapable of understanding right now, and maybe that’s just another point that God exists because he already told us of the death of the physical body, but the soul survives. Of course, I’m interested in keeping them both intact as we are hardwired to fight for our survival, and existence. And grateful that the body and the soul are intact and everyone is accounted for.

 I love you so much sis! And I always will -- from here to eternity (she's pictured above). (♥Eminé ♥)


Gio Clairval said...

Sad and beautiful, but more beautiful than sad.

Laura said...

What a wonderful and powerful and moving essay. Thank you!

Daniela Martins said...

Oh, Emine! I wanna say so many things about that, but I think I'm not cappable to say because my english isn't soo good! Probably, you can't understand what I really wanna say.
Well, here I am alone in my house (my moomy travelled to see my grandma who is sick), 11:22PM, tired a entirely day work and thinking about what to read before go to bed (maybe I could start reading again your Christian's POV for the 4 time - portuguese and english), but I went throug the archive blog and found it!
I'm sure your sister came back, first God wants it, because her family's love is so big and all of you had faith! Maybe you think different!
What happened with you that night when you see your grandma for me is totally true. I believe things like that really happened. It happened once time in my family one night before my aunt passed away.
Your story made me cry here. Make me remember how afraid I was 10 years ago when my mother almost died after a surgery without success. It was december 24, 2003. My father wasn't in Brazil and my brother lived in another state (1.000 km far away my city). So I was alone! When doctor said me my mother have to pass through another surgery my world colapsed. I couldn't talk to anyone, my cel fone didn't work...and I don't remember how I was cappable to drive to my house. In fact I don't remember! I only remember when I stop the car in front of my house and my neighbour came to me asking news from my mother. So I told her everything incappable to stop my tears.
I was so afraid. I prayed a lot. After her surgery, seeing her sleeping I remembered I'm going to the bathroom and cry.
We know how much we love our family, our friends, but life pass so fast sometimes we don't say "I love you" or spend more time by their side.
Thanks God my mother recovered. After this bad time I promised myself try to be a better daughter, sister, friend and always do my best when my patients need me. Try to spend more time by their side.
I don't have kid but my brother gave me a present: a perfect niece. She's 7 years old. I love her so much. My mother, my niece and I alway are together. My dad lives in NJ, EUA. Every day I talk to him and once a year he comes to stay with us. Probably in two years he definitively comes back to Brazil. When he's here I don't give him time. I stay with him all time, cook everything he likes and wants. Kisses and hugs all time!
Thanks God I do the same with my moomy and niece (my brother and his wifes are more closed but they know I love their....and they love me).
Nothing else worth more...only love, family and friends.
All of this bad times have to had to teach us what's really important.
I cried reading your story and remember my own!
You're special, Emine!
your sister and family certainly are very pround to have you in their lives.
Sorry my english!
I'm trying get better.