Friday, October 22, 2010

Sad News

It's strange how many different ways you can be sad all at the same time.  

My youngest sister, Diana, passed away from breast cancer yesterday.

I'm sad that someone so young should die.   I'm sad that her wonderful husband and three sweet young children are left without a wife and mother.

I'm also sad that I never knew my sister very well.  She was 10 years younger than I am and lived over 2000 kms away from where I do.  I got married when she was 12 years old.  It was hard to bridge the gap.

She was adopted into our family when she was not quite 2 years old.  I remember the first night we brought her home.  We put her crib in my room so she would have someone close by her during the night.  I was thrilled to have a little sister sleeping in my room.  When I woke up in the morning she was standing up in her crib holding on to the ribbons I had won at a science fair.  The only ribbons I ever won were being wrinkled in her hands, but it didn't matter as I had a sweet little sister. 

I was like a second mom to her and when she was young she would often hang around with me trying to do what I did.   I remember in high school she would sit on my bed colouring and chattering away while I studied and did homework.

She met and married a wonderful man from Winnipeg and they lived there for most of the 20 years they were married.  Diana loved the prairies and loved living in Winnipeg.  She had three children - 2 girls and a boy - of whom she was enormously proud.  She liked nothing more than to go on outings or camping with them.

 Diana when she was about 5 years old,  in the  foreground, with my other sister and brother

Diana and I led sort of parallel lives - we both got married when we were 22 years old, we both finished our Master's degrees after we were married, we both had 3 children, and our eldest children are almost exactly 10 years apart in age.

Yet she and I were very different people as adults.  She was a political animal with strong opinions on politics, unions, and native rights.  She worked for the government helping make policy and later worked to help make changes in education and rights for natives.  She found great satisfaction from having a job and worked when her children were babies while her husband stayed home and cared for them.  She encouraged her children to appreciate their first nations heritage. 

 Me when I was 20 and Diana at 10 years of age

It's funny how little incidental endearing memories flood my mind right now.  I loved Diana's walk - she had this self-confident stride just like Meg Ryan's walk in "You've Got Mail".  Diana enjoyed good food and wine and she is the one that taught me to put feta cheese in spaghetti and on pizza.  That's my favourite way to have it now and I always think of her when I do it.  She loved the show "The Dog Whisperer" with Cesar Millan and she gave me the best advice about how to train Juno.  We would always laugh that I was getting my best dog advice from someone who was afraid of dogs. 

Diana and I in Winnipeg this past May

I'll be heading out to Winnipeg later this week so I can join the family for a memorial service.  I have to say I've never been to Winnipeg so often as I have in this past year.


  1. Oh Grace, what a brave post. I'm sorry for you and for your extended family. And I wish I knew what to say. Diana sounds like an inspiring person. I hope at least that writing and sharing this is some sort of solace as the grieving process continues. Bless.

  2. Oh Grace, I am so, so sorry. What a beautiful tribute to your sister. My thoughts are with you and your family. A-M xx

  3. Grace words escape me at this moment. Your post is a loving tribute and I know the loss you feel is immeasurable! My thoughts are with you and your entire family during this sad and difficult time!


  4. So, so sorry to hear your sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. K xx

  5. So sorry to hear about your sister! I have been thinking about you over the past week and wondering how your sister was doing. What a beautiful post and tribute to her life. She sounds like she was a very fun and spirited woman. I will be thinking about you in the days to come and safe travels to Winnipeg. Angie xo

  6. I so look forward to reading your blog, my stomach dropped today when I saw the title. Yet your tribute to Diana is uplifting as you have obviously great memories of a little sister who may have been geographically separated from you but still the two of you had a loving connection. I hope you are able to treasure your beautiful memories.

    Mawsiepaws, Melbourne Australia

  7. My thoughts are with you Grace. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of your sister. She sounds like a strong and influential role model.
    Rebecca x

  8. I'm so sorry to hear your terribly sad news Grace - my thoughts are with you and your family x

  9. Thank you for sharing your sister with me. I'm sorry for your loss.

  10. I know exactly what you're going through.


  11. So sorry to hear about your sister. This post was a lovely tribute.

  12. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your sister and what you wrote about her was beautiful.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  13. Grace, I am so sorry. This is such a wonderful tribute to your sister ... we can all see how much you love her. Thank you for sharing this ... I hope it eases your burden a bit. Please know that I am praying for comfort and peace for you and the rest of your family.

  14. I love the photos you've shared, what a beautiful person your sister was...

    "Though the voice is silent, the spirit echos still..."

  15. What a wonderful tribute to your sister, even though you write about not being close I think you were very close. You have wonderful treasures in your memories, you can visit with her any time. My thoughts and prayers will be with you during this stormy part of your journey. Take care:)

  16. My thoughts and prayers are with your during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your sister.

  17. Your sister sounds like a very special person and your beautiful post shows that even though you may not have been close in age or distance, you still had a special sister bond.
    Take care
    Sarah Elizabeth x x

  18. Grace,
    My prayers go out to you, your family and your sister's family. Your sister sounds like an amazing person who enriched your family while I'm sure your family enriched her. It's beautiful how you can write this lovely post to share her with us. She's an inspiration. Take care.

  19. So sorry to hear this news. It sounds like your sister had a wonderful spirit!

  20. Dear Grace,
    So sorry to hear this sad news. I feel for the family, especially her children. I pray that they will be protected by God's love and will carry her spirit with them all of their lives.

  21. Grace I am so very sorry to hear about your sister. How horrible. Your sister sounds like she was an amazing person!!
    Many blessings to you
    Pamela xo

  22. I am so sorry for your loss! I will be praying for you, your family and your sister's family.

  23. Grace...such a beautiful name, and obviously someone blessed with same also. I am so sorry for your pain...losing a sister is not easy...I know.
    Be gentle with yourself.

  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so hard to lose someone you love. I have lost both my father and a son to death and last year my beast friend to breast cancer.

  25. Grace I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

  26. Hugs to you Grace! What a lovely post about your time you had with your sister. I will keep you all in my thoughts.

  27. My sincere condolences. You wrote a lovely tribute.

  28. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your memories are beautiful and will endure with you always.

  29. Words are inadequate but I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my dear aunt to breast cancer and she was also much too young to leave this earth. Prayers for you and all your family, especially the children and her husband.

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

  30. My condolences Grace, I'm so sad and sorry for your loss

  31. Oh Grace, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your sister. She sounds like she was one strong woman. We are losing far too many of our "sisters" to this disease. You are in my deepest thoughts. And so is her dear husband and children.

  32. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister Grace. My thoughts and prayers are with you all right now. Hugs, Deb

  33. I am so sorry. I've never lost a close family member, so I can't begin to know how you feel, but I do know in time, it will be better.

  34. Grace , a beautiful tribute . Im so sorry for you & your familys loss.
    Karyn x

  35. Dear Grace, I {thought?}
    I'd left a comment yesterday
    and popped back over today
    to see how you were, but my
    note isn't here. So, I just
    want to say again how brave
    and strong you are to be able
    to write such a lovely tribute
    during this very sad time for
    you and your family. Your
    description of Diana's jaunty walk
    stayed with me since reading about
    it yesterday morning and I
    can just picture her beginning
    a new journey with that little walk.
    I will continue to keep you and
    yours in my prayers. This is such
    a beastly disease!!
    Big hugs,
    xx Suzanne

  36. My thoughts are with you as you head to Winnipeg this week. May you find strength, love and solace in those dearest to you. May Diana's memory live in you and her children forever.

  37. I am saddened to hear about your sister. A wonderful post illustrating some beautiful memories of a very special person in your life.
    This is such a hard thing. I lost my Mom to breast cancer. takes teh ones close to us much too early.

  38. Grace, this is one of those moments when friendship online does not cut it. I wish there was something I could do beyond words. I am so sorry for your loss. This is a terrible time, but what you wrote about your sister is just beautiful. She would have been so happy and proud to read it I'm certain. My prayers are for you, family and friends that loved her.

  39. I am so sorry and saddened to hear of your sister's passing. She is obviously very special to you and a very accomplished woman. My heart goes out to your family. I think you have expressed how important she was to you so beautifully.


  40. My thoughts are with you and your family. This is a beautiful post in her memory.

  41. I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister. This is such a beautiful way to remember her, and that picture of you two when you are 20 and 10 is just precious.

  42. I am really sorry about your loss... This is my first time visiting your blog - and it won't be the last, that is for sure! and this post made me cry... because one of my younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer this past March.
    Nobody on either side of our family has had cancer before, but she does.
    She is a single mother of an 18 month old baby and it scares me to think of what could happen to her, her son and us as a family as we are very close.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us, please know you and your family will be in my prayers and I shall come back soon to visit.
    Warm regards from Mexico ~

  43. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I love the photos you posted and this post in her memory.

  44. So sorry to hear your sad news. May you be comforted by the small happy memories you have of this precious person.