There were three of us sisters. The older sister, who I do not remember, died from brain cancer at the age of 7. She died on January 6, 1960. We all were three and a half years apart.
Around two weeks before the end of December 1993, I was taking care of my ill sister who was dying of stomach cancer. My sister who was dying was 33 and we were inseparable. That night I went to sleep also suffering from narcolepsy. I am in the medical field, but this was nothing to do with my illness. While I was sleeping, I had a dream of my older sister’s voice. It was so soothing to me. She said to me, " tell Jody not to be afraid to die when the time comes, I will be there. Tell her to look for my blue hand." She then said, "you will be with her because mommy had me die in her arms and she cannot take it. Everyone will be in the room including the nurses, but don’t worry I will handle it. You will know when it is time. Now, this week since you have narcolepsy, you must go to the florist and order a large heart and have it read "three sisters, one heart". Then iron your black clothes for the outfits. Assign who is to make the phone calls, because we have a big family. Tell Jody that if she does not see what you tell her at the time of her death, that you will go with her." She then said, "you will not be sick while she is dying, but then we must give you back the narcolepsy."
I awakened and was left so peaceful, yet scared. I did what I was told. In the beginning of the first week of January 1994, that morning my sister made her nurse call me from next door. I had just left to get some sleep because I was with her the whole night. She called me to go into my mom’s house (we live next door). She was alert and sitting up, not in her semi-comatose state. Her hands were shaking. She said, "Kim, I am having hallucinations like you. I am scared." I held my arms around her. She said, "hold me. No, not like that, get into the bed. I want to show you how you must hold me." She then laid her body across my arms and slipped back into her semi-conscious state. I then turned to my mother and said, "I am not moving." This being around January 3, I figured she too would die on January 6.
On the morning of January 5, she awakened. I still had not moved. I held her hand for those 2 days. I had no sleep, but was fine. She asked me to call my dad at work. He ran home, she got up to kiss him and tell him thank you for the life he gave her. She loved my mom too much to say goodbye. She would always say I could not believe I am doing this to her like Ann, my older sister. I would say, "you didn’t know you were going to die." After she kissed my father and before slipping back into the coma, she said, "now I can go to heaven." On Thursday, January 6 it was 11 a.m. when she awakened and screamed out my name. I still had my hand clutched to hers. She turned and said, "Kim, I love you." She was in a coma until Saturday, January 8. That making her 33 1\2, as she was born June 8. It was about 2:30 p.m. My parents, her husband, her 2 year old little girl and the nurses were in the room.
Suddenly, my father felt like puking, the baby started crying and her husband took her out. My mom smelled something burning. I knew it was time. I told her nurse. The nurse said she is still breathing. I picked her up and placed her body across mine and then placed her St. Jude, her namesake prayer, in her hand. I then said, "Jody, it is time. Ann said to look for grandma and grandpa and her blue hand and not to let go until you see them. If you don’t, I will go with you." I said, "do you see Ann’s blue hand?" She opened her eyes, smiled, nodded, and then died. With that I picked her up and had a partial attack of cataplexy where I could only move the top of my body. The nurse was pushing me away and I yelled no, "I must do this."
I being a respiratory therapist turned her over as the cancer exploded and she was secreting black from her mouth and nose. I turned her back and was kissing her. I turned my head to our three pictures above my mother’s bed and suddenly felt an intense feeling of warmth and heat. It was so beautiful. My sister had left her body while I was still kissing her. She floated out of the room in a yellow chiffon gown that I can draw in detail. My grandparents were on each side of her and a blue hand was floating over her head. Before she exited, she blew me a kiss. I then had a cataplectic attack, which is complete loss of muscle tone for two hours.
That night, in my apartment, I said to my husband, "If only I knew she had no pain. She did not wince and I was pressing her morphine pump for the extra dose but how do I know." That night I went to sleep. I, being the sewer mouth of the kids and her never a cuss word; she appeared above my closet in the same gown and said, "you stupid ass, you made me come back all the way from heaven to tell you I had no pain. That you held me as if mommy was holding me. I love you, thank you and when I have to tell you something I will always get to you. You know how disfigured I was from the cancer, when you see me tomorrow night in my coffin, you will see me as beautiful as I was on my wedding day. They knew that you loved me so much that you would have cracked if you weren’t sure I was in heaven and when I was dying that is what you saw. Tell mommy that she is the luckiest woman on earth because her two angels in heaven made her one angel on earth see heaven."
That night at the funeral she was as beautiful as she said. Not one scar from chemotherapy or disfigurement. She was gorgeous. Her husband left two days later with their 2-year-old child. My parents fought for custody. That was my sister’s wish to have the child live with us. She died of a heavy heart with that. We fought for custody but lost. I get to see my niece one weekend a month. There are times when the child may be ill or crying when I would see my sister across the train track just crying or dreaming of her saying, "my baby, my baby." I would then call my niece up and she would be sad.
Sometimes I would go to the cemetery, I would go to her grave and see peach roses there. I was leaving when suddenly there was a wind and a door slam. She is buried inside an indoor mausoleum. I heard her talk to me in my mind but with my voice. She said, "come back" and on the ground was a long stem red rose. I looked at the picture of her on her mausoleum and could hear her say; "I could not forget your birthday." My birthday is January 18th and my two sisters died in January.
So many other things have happened since her death. I have spoken to priests and they tell me she gave me a special gift. I have not become holy, though I pray for her always and I never believed in the after life until her death.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.