Loving Through the Fear

When I was about 10 years old, my older sister, Leah, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.

A tumor, that we were told had been forming for years.

A tumor that, after multiple surgeries, left her with cognitive challenges that would impact her the rest of her life.

And at only 15 years old, she was destined to live the rest of her life with many challenges that we can only guess what it would be like.

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗮𝘀𝗸𝘀

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹�𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗸𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗸𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗷𝗼𝗯

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗻𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝘄𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘇𝗲, 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗲

The tumor took away so much of Leah’s potential in life. it took away so much from her.

And on many occasions, her challenges created conflict in our family.

𝗜 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗲.

𝗜 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗱𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱

𝗜 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆

I also remember that, as a ten year old, seeing his strong older sister suffer like this, was something I did not know how to handle.

𝗜 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿

𝗜 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵

𝗜 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲

So I pushed Leah away.

I didn’t let her in.

As I grew older, and moved into my late teens and early 20’s, the disconnection, the wall I put up only grew further.

𝗪𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀

𝗜 𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀

𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿

𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗹𝗹.. 𝗜 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗶𝘁.

It was her fault that we couldn’t get along.

It was her fault that we couldn’t have a relationship.

It was her fault that my big sister no longer had a little brother

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵 𝗶𝘀, 𝗶𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝘂𝗹𝘁.

Even after all Leah went through, she did her best to try and keep a relationship with me. To call me regularly, to tell me she missed and loved me…

But, I just didn’t know how to manage the emotions I felt when we spoke. Because often, I showed up with frustration, disinterest, or the oh so common…

“𝐼’𝑚 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑜𝑜 𝑏𝑢𝑠𝑦 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑛𝑜𝑤”

And as I look back and remember my big sister, I realize, that I was afraid.

𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗳𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲

𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗳𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗴𝗼 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗜 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘁 𝗮 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗴𝗲

𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗳𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻, 𝗮𝘀 𝗜 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲

And I did.

At the time of writing this, Leah has now been out of my life for over five years, as she was killed in an accident, early in her 30's.

Tearing up as I write this, I know there were many years that I could have enjoyed with her. Laughs that we could have had.

Memories we still could have created together.

If only I knew that it was my own fear that was keeping me from being there for her, like she was for many years in my youth, when I really needed her.

And while my big sister is gone, and I am now able to look back and cherish my memories of Leah

𝗛𝗲𝗿 𝗷𝗼𝘆𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝘀𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗲

𝗛𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁

𝗛𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆

And yes, even during the really challenging times, I’m grateful that I had her as my sister.

Our relationship taught me a lot about life and myself, that can not be learned through a book, but only through our closest relationships.

#𝟭 𝗢𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗿𝘆, 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 — 𝗶𝘁 𝗼𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗮 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿. 𝗙𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀, 𝗼𝗿 𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗹. 𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺, 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺, 𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝘆, 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺

#𝟮 𝗪𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗯𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀. 𝗜𝘁 𝗱𝗼𝗲𝘀𝗻’𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘀𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗶𝘁

#𝟯 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴. 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗮𝘆. 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵. 𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗲 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀, 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿. 𝗔𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻, 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴

#𝟰 𝗕𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿, 𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗺𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗜 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗲

No matter what, even after she has passed, my big sister, Leah, is still teaching me so much.

I’m grateful for her, and all I learned and am learning from her to this day!