My sister, an anniversary

14 May

{ personal: }

Orchid in the waiting room while she got accupuncture


Today marks the one year anniversary of my middle sister’s cancer diagnosis and recovery. Throughout the past year, I ran with an unwavering fervor and blogged almost daily for a long time at an attempt to maintain my sanity. It seems to have worked, this is our story.

One year ago today, I received a phone call that would devastate me. My mom called me at work, trying desperately to maintain her composure while telling me that one of my baby sisters had just been diagnosed with cancer. A check-up had turned into a need for urgent surgery. The shock silenced me. It was minutes before a meeting. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. I’ve never been so scared of losing someone I love. I didn’t even have enough words to excuse myself from the meeting I was in. I just sat silently, in shock.

The past year has been rough. That’s really an understatement, her illness was one of several challenges I dealt with, though definitely the most heart-breaking. It took me months to realize that even through the laughter, through the daily tasks and the mundane, the pain permeated my every fiber and lived inside me; I felt helpless.

Fast forward to the present. She has a clean bill of health. I want to celebrate her life today.

I want to celebrate the bond that has always remained strong, the hotline we have to each other. The three sisters connected to each other through thick and thin. I don’t wish illness on anyone.  I only started sleeping regularly recently. I didn’t talk about it much, my closest friends heard about the process, that’s about it. It hasn’t been easy to write this.

I’m amazed that I maintained a balanced temperament. I was grateful every day that I didn’t snap, that I managed to remain present, here, now. I was so angry, we all were. She and I would crack really awful jokes about it, the kind only a sister who’s health is compromised would think was funny because the alternative to poking fun is tragedy. She really has a good sense of humor. Today I celebrate her health and her life.

My sister undergoing chemo
Spending the day with her while she was undergoing chemo


My beautiful sister, Ingrid. Lover of animals and plants. Happy to smile, perpetuating love around everything she touches. Creative, crafty, silly. I imagine her sitting outside with her husband and cats, fussing about the garden, snapping pictures. No interruptions, no strangers around, no illness. I love you. May we find things to laugh about for many years to come.


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    May 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Fabienne; such an incredible, moving post. I’m sure it was more difficult to write than I could ever imagine and I commend you for allowing yourself to be this vulnerable. I’m so happy she’s better now and you have something to celebrate. I wish her many more years of health! Much love to you.
    THE-LOUDMOUTH recently posted..Open House- The Office

  2. Ofelia

    May 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    This post is full of love, courage and strength!
    Ofelia recently posted..Mothers Day


    May 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    This is a wonderful and intimate post, I’m so happy that you shared it with us. Faith, love, hope and strength is aids to maintain a (life) balance, even when we are afar or in our darkest hour it’s good to have one to help us through. Family is so important to me and I’m glad that your sister is okay. Here’s to looking forward to the bright future. Cheers & blessings!

  4. Lee Oliveira

    May 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

    WOW.. those words really touched me Fabienne.
    I am so happy that your babe sister is better and free!
    She is indeed a very smily girl..
    Send her kisses from me.
    Now.. you can relax! Lots of love
    Lee x


    May 16, 2011 at 6:32 am

    So happy that Ingrid is well and you are all so loving and supportive of each other. That is such a blessing. I hope you’ll continue to celebrate every day of life and the time you have together!
    GRIT & GLAMOUR recently posted..Worker V- 18 Tips for Wearing Black in Spring

  6. Anika

    May 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I am so moved reading about you stong and dignified and stunning women. Please give Ingrid a big hug from me. Thank you so much for sharing with us. This life can be brutal, and beautiful, all at the same time. I am so glad that you have both come through this, changed for sure, but ok. I love you lots my sweet. Sending you big hugs from Oslo. <3
    Anika recently posted..Vintage ByAnika- Flaming June &amp Anika

  7. Allyson

    May 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your journey with Ingrid here, Fabienne. I’m taking my lunch break early to call my sister, who I don’t talk to enough, just to tell her how grateful I am to have her in my life…
    Allyson recently posted..Glamour Shots Mom to WOW Campaign Decoding the Ad

  8. Sanja

    May 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I can’t say that this is a beautiful post because I wish you never had to experience such an awful thing, but I’m glad that your sister is ok now and that you will have many many years together full of love and support. I wish you and your sisters only the best!

    Love, Sanja
    Sanja recently posted..What I wore to Blaž Čuks fashion show

  9. Doreen

    May 16, 2011 at 9:27 am

    What a beautiful post. Illness sure does have a way of recalibrating what’s important in life.

    Godspeed to you and your sister!

  10. Bella Q

    May 16, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Hello Ingrid! I want to celebrate life with you too. Congrats on surviving cancer and for adding so much love to this world. I’m a big fan of your sis, and can surmise that you too are just as incredible.
    Bella Q recently posted..outfit post- Street Style Citizen

  11. For Those About To Shop

    May 17, 2011 at 9:41 am

    What an inspiring story! I’m so glad to hear about your sister’s recovery and I’m moved by your close relationship with both of your sisters. My sister moved to London, England a few years ago and we’ve drifted apart. I always hold hope that things will improve, however, because sisters have a sacred bond.
    For Those About To Shop recently posted..Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence covers Flare

  12. Kristin

    May 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

    How wonderful that your sister is in recovery! I’m sure you were and are an amazing source of support for her!
    Kristin recently posted..Outfit Post- There’s Nothing Like a New Pair of Jeans

  13. Rose

    May 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm

  14. Oh to Be a Muse

    May 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Congratulations and all the best to your beautiful sister Ingrid! And thanks so much for taking the time to share this story with us. It was great to read this heartfelt, personal story dear!
    Oh to Be a Muse recently posted..Inspiring Style- Towne and Reese Jewelry Giveaway

  15. Cloud of Secrets

    May 19, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I’m so glad you’re all having this anniversary and that the situation is good now, although the year brought much pain and worry as Ingrid and those who love her fought the illness. You’ve captured your sister beautifully in words and in her courageous photo.

    Lord, I dread the “(Loved One) has cancer” phone calls, and I know they’ll only get more frequent as the years go by.
    Cloud of Secrets recently posted..Unplanned Photography