I’m in shock right now. My little sister passed away after battling cancer for a year. I’m still trying to make some sense out of this. Because, to be honest, it doesn’t make sense. To say that someone can get cancer and die at 24 years old in a world supposedly governed by a just and loving God doesn’t make sense at all. She was engaged, and she and her fiancé should have had their whole lives ahead of them. It’s not fair for all their plans to be cut short just like that. Between me, my mom, my dad, and her fiancé, I know any one of us would trade places with her in a second. Because it doesn’t make sense for someone her age to die of cancer. Not at 24.
I’m going to be upfront today and let you know that I don’t have any dating advice in this week’s newsletter. I’m writing this article for selfish reasons, and if you want to stop reading here then I won’t be offended. It’s okay.
At my sister’s funeral, I volunteered to give a eulogy. My parents were surprised, since I’m usually a quiet person and super terrified of public speaking, but it was something that I felt I needed to say. I’ve decided to make it an open eulogy and publish it on my blog. This way, everything I said during the funeral can live on long after that fateful day:
Hey everyone. I’m Steven, and I was her older brother. When I think about how my sister is not here anymore, it feels like a part of my childhood died along with her. While we were growing up, my sister, my cousin, and I would go on so many wacky adventures together. Our cousin lived right across the street from us, so every summer break he would hang out at our house almost every day and we’d go on imaginary adventures together. Sometimes, we were on a ship sailing for buried treasure. Sometimes, we were adventurers fighting dragons and huge monsters. Sometimes, we were the Mythbusters. Sometimes, we were Pokémon trainers. We’d even play hide-and-seek with our dog—turns out, the dog’s not good at hiding. And when it came to video games…well…I’d never seen someone with that much spirit. The last time we’d played video games together, she started yelling so loud that everyone could hear her from outside the house. Outside the house!!
Eventually, I met my future wife and we moved in together. And every time I came back to the house I grew up in, my sister and mom would be there with a string of endless roasts waiting for me. All in good fun, of course. And..of course…my wife would always join them in making me the butt of everyone’s jokes. One of those moments I remember best is when she was telling the story of how we were visiting a relative at the cemetery and I saw a garden snake. It wasn’t a huge snake, about the size of your iPhone headphones, but it was my first time seeing a snake in person and I was pretty freaked out by it. My sister loved recalling that one experience every time I came home. Every. Single. Time.
My sister and cousin also came up with a strange song and dance about how I take a long time to use the restroom. I pee slow…apparently…and I never used to think that was weird. Until one day, I come out of the bathroom and standing outside the door are my sister and cousin grinning like idiots. And suddenly, they both into this strange song and dance that goes like:
“Spends. The most time. In the bath room…flush…”
The worst part is that she ended up teaching the song and dance to my wife! Even today, my wife still does the song and dance whenever I come out of the bathroom. Oy!
Last year, my wife and I got married at the courthouse in Chicago. And my sister surprised us that day. She went the extra mile and really made that day special for us. She put together a bouquet of flowers for my wife to hold on to throughout the ceremony. Fake flowers, of course, which I’m glad because it lasted longer that way. She even pulled some strings with her old boss to get boat tour tickets of the Chicago river and the lake for, not only the two of us, but several of our friends as well! My mom tells me that my sister felt special that we let her play such a huge role in us getting married, but the truth is she’s the one who made that day special for us.
I’m going to miss my little sister.