Sharon is the consummate oldest child. She is an over-achieving perfectionist, highly motivated to please others while constantly worrying about her younger brother (and everyone else) as a rule-abiding mother hen. I say this in jest. I adore my sister Sharon. But we don't understand each other. Sharon is a LIFELONG straight A student. I was always a good student, but I reiterate, my sister never experienced a B. Not in grade school, junior high, high school, as an undergraduate, or even in her masters program. That just can't be healthy. I have memories of walking home from Ben Milam Elementary in Grand Prairie, with my sister as my protector. After a few minutes of meandering, the interrogation would begin. "Where are your books? What happened to your knee? Should we go back to get anything?" Sharon was my keeper.
I still remember a Meet the Teacher night when I was bragging to my parents that I was sitting by the teacher again, for the third year in a row as the "helper." Sharon explained to me that it was because I couldn't be quiet, not because I was special. Mom agreed as she reminded me of the box always checked on my report cards....talks too much. Yeah, so much for being the "helper."
|Aunt VA holding me while Sharon watches.|
(Virginia has the look as if she is about to throw me & shouldn't my neck be supported?)
So six months ago when all of my siblings were tested for bone marrow compatibility, who do you think would be the match? You know already. It was Sharon - a perfect match. Once again, my sister was ready to take care of me. By the way, Karen & Paul were perfect matches and I told them that explained a lot - poor Karen!
Sharon married Don Hendrix in 1977. They were truly made for each other. They began a life of education and serving others - Don coaching football, teaching math & physics; Sharon teaching high school English. In 2008 Don and Sharon began building their retirement "dream home" - a log cabin that they had planned for most of their married lives. We lost Don in March of 2009 to a heart attack. Our family has not been the same since. Nor will it.
I know Sharon has struggled with my fight with cancer, there being no way she could really help. I have agonized with her suffering since the loss of her best friend and husband. She continues to teach English and Composition at a junior college and lives in their log cabin that she choose to complete on her own. But two weeks ago, Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer. Tomorrow, March 5th, she will have surgery, chemotherapy to follow.
My heart feels broken. Last Sunday, Chris and I met Sharon at my parent's house. We drank coffee, cried, drank more coffee, and laughed. In so many ways, my sister and Don blazed a path for me to follow in this crazy life - how to be a loving spouse, best friend, student, teacher, parent, and friend. I hope I have been an example of fighting cancer for Sharon. And I would take it from her, if I could. Love you, Sis!