As I walked through the woods, I began to think about the good times I used to have here. Me and my sister would come here every summer when we were kids and run around and play out here for hours. We’d play games like hide and go seek, hiding the gem, and so much more. Sometimes we’d stay out late and watch the stars. We’d pick the leaves off the branches and share some of our deepest secrets. This was our special place. We loved it here. It had been years since I’ve visited this place. My sister passed away almost seven years ago of breast cancer. It took a toll on me. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or function. I fell into a deep depression. She was the strongest out of both of us. She’d be my shoulder to cry on. My rock to shield me. My comforter in my time of need. She was always there when I needed her. When she passed, I felt like I had no one. We had a rough childhood growing up. My mom was always drunk and passed out, and we never knew our dad. Every time she did bring a man around, they were too busy beating on or screwing my mom, so they never paid attention to us. She passed away a year after my sister did, from liver cancer. She had drank so much, her liver and kidneys failed at the same time. She was in bad shape. I visited her while she was in the hospital, but it was bittersweet. Although I didn’t want my mom to die, I felt no sympathy towards her. Instead of being a parent and spending time with us, she was always drunk. Me and my sister clung close to each other. We promised we’d never leave each other no matter what. When she passed away, I felt like she broke that promise. She left me here. I felt alone. I turned to alcohol to cope with the pain. I went through a state of isolation. I found myself doing things I’d never thought I’d do in a million years. I sold my body for sex. The alcohol numbed the pain, so it felt like I wasn’t the person performing the acts. One day, I was found by the train tracks on the side of the road. I was half naked, bruised and scarred. The woman who found me was guidance counselor at the local elementary school. She took me to a hospital, where my aunt came to get me. She enrolled me in therapy and forced me to go. I was reluctant to go, but eventually came around to it. I was able to let go of all the pain of my sister passing.
The deeper I walked through the woods, the more eerie I started to feel. I felt as if someone was watching me. I looked around and saw no one. I kept walking and all of a sudden it grew cold. I zipped up my jacket and threw my hood over my head. I kept walking, until I was halted by a bright light shining behind the tree. I slowly crept to it and peeked around. I looked around to see where the light was coming from, but was unable to locate the source of the light. I looked closer and notice the light started to take form. I stared at it for a minute as my sisters face appeared in the light. I ducked behind the tree quickly. My heart started to race. Could it be? Was it her? Was it really her? I stuck my head around the tree again, and this time noticed she was smiling at me. “Don’t be afraid. It’s just me.” she said. I eased out from behind the tree and crept closer. “Jaime, is that you?” I asked. “Yes, it’s me?” she replied. I stuck my hand out to try and feel her, but could feel nothing but air. “What? How? Where are you?” I stammered. “I’m here with you. I’ve been waiting on you. I’ve been waiting on you for almost seven years, and you never showed.” she explained. “I thought you left me.” I cried. “I never left you. I’ve always been with you. I saw the pain in your life and the turmoil it caused. Who do you think sent the lady to find you? You were throwing your life away. God called me home. He thought I had served my purpose on Earth.” “Yes, but I needed you here with me. He didn’t have to take you so soon.” “You can’t question him. He has an agenda. We work according to his schedule.” she explained. I slumped against the tree whimpering. “I wasn’t ready for you to go.” “I know, but he was. I was trusting you to be strong, and you let me down. You fell victim to the world and got sucked in it.” “I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to survive without you.” “Yes you did. You just needed to find the strength and courage to do it.” “I didn’t have it.” “Yes, you did. You’ve always had it. You’ve had it ever since we were kids running through these woods.” I wiped the tears from face as I slowly started to get up. I noticed the light was starting to dim. “Jaime where are you going?” “I have to go back. He needs me. Remember, I’m always with you. I’ve never left.” she said as her light faded away. I stood next to the tree for minute as I waited to see if she would return. When nothing happened, I scurried out of the woods and back to the cabin I was vacationing in. I ran upstairs and to the attic. I pushed the door back and climbed in. I searched for the sunflower box my sister used to keep all of her trinkets in. When I found it, I opened it up and saw a button that had a pink flower in the middle. This was her favorite button. She wore this button on all of her clothes where it matched or not. I grabbed the button, closed the box and placed it back on the floor. I left the attic and went to my room to find a necklace. I put it around my neck and looked in the mirror. It was beautiful. This was what I needed. A reminder of my sister. I admired it for a few minutes. Now, I’ll always have something to remind me she is still here. This gave me a sense of closure and I was able to completely let go of my pain.
To anyone who has lost someone to breast cancer or any cancer, remember they may be gone from the flesh, but their spirit will forever remain with you.