To My Big Sister Doris – Written by Rachel

A bond between sisters can be truly magical.

A sister is there during good times and bad. She is the only other person who truly understands your crazy family and knows both your darkest secrets and your best qualities.

Rachel was the youngest of five siblings and the bond she shared with her eldest sister was like no other.

I’m honoured to share her tribute to her amazing sister Doris.

Enjoy army members!

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My sister Doris (Dor) was the eldest of five kids. I was the baby.

She was twelve years my senior and except for our bullheadedness (and our frequent use of the eff word) we were polar opposites.

My sister was a fireball of energy with a wonderful sarcastic sense of humour. She was extroverted, outgoing, popular, and confident. She loved fun times and fast paced people.

She was all of five feet tall and a hundred pounds soaking wet, but she had the strength of a giant and was afraid of nothing and no one. She was the boss and everyone knew it!

She loved almost everyone, but if you were an ass she would tell you off in a second. She didn’t care who you were, if you deserved it, she would put you in your place and not miss a beat! She once used her bar tray to wallop some dumb ass who decided it was a good idea to bite her on the ass while she was bent over serving drinks.

Growing up we lived in a small house in a tiny town in Northern Ontario. My sister also spenr a great deal of time taking care of “me-the baby”, especially during times when our mother was not well.

As I mentioned I was her opposite. I was a shy, introverted, dorky little sister who loved quiet times and good books. I was as quiet as a mouse, barely spoke a word, and was afraid of my own shadow.

I loved being around her.

When I was about seven, my sister, like many others during the 70’s, decided to head out west to the bright lights and big cities of booming Alberta. After all, it was where all the “cool” kids were headed and she was definitely one of those.

I will never forget, how I felt the few days leading up to her departure. Or, how she spent her final hour alone with me on the day she left. How she took me to the store for a treat and blew bubbles with me on the front steps of the house. How she made her friends wait in the car just a little bit longer while she gave me extra hugs and kisses before saying “come on baby, you gotta let me go now”. It was painful to let her go. The silent, empty house felt uncomfortable and upsetting.

Life in that small house was never the same after that. There were a series of very personal and painful events that followed, which made it all the more difficult. Yet, once a year my sister would fly home for a visit. I used to count the days until she returned!

It was during those visits that our house would come alive with noise and excitement of people talking and laughing. Oh how I loved having her home and sharing a bed with her once again.

However I dreaded the end of those visits. The heartbreak of her leaving would be excruciating and the silence and the emptiness in the house would feel unbearable after she would go.

As the years passed we continued to be separated by distance, but we shared a deep bond and a great love for one another that never changed.  For years she helped me face the ghosts of the past in that small town. Even from across the country she was my shield, my strength, and my protector.

I will always be eternally grateful.

Sadly, in the spring of 2016 she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Extremely painful tumors quickly spread throughout her body.

By January of 2017 I got the call that there wasn’t much time left. I had seen her just two weeks before at Christmas but nothing prepared me for what this horrible disease was able to do to her in that small amount of time.

When I arrived out west her end was very close. Her hubby and daughter had already said goodbye and were ready for her to make her peaceful departure.

I wasn’t. I still needed her.

On death’s door my incredible sister could tell I wasn’t ready for her to leave yet. So in Doris fashion, she kicked me out of her bed, dropped an “Eff Bomb”and told me to shut up!  She was my beautiful bossy sister till the end!  It was exactly how I needed to remember her. Beautiful, and strong.

Eventually her energy declined and she told me that Dad (dearly departed) had come for her and she had to go.

I will never forget how I felt during those last few days leading up to her departure. Or, how she spent her final hour alone with me on the day she left. How she made Dad wait just a little bit longer while she gave me extra hugs and kisses before saying “you gotta let me go”. And how yet again the pain and silence of her leaving broke my heart.

We shared a deep bond and a great love for one another that even death won’t change. I know that as the years pass and I try to conquer the ghosts of my past that she will continue to be my shield, my strength, and my protector. For that I will be eternally grateful.

This is my thank you tribute and my last letter to my big sister Dor, who passed away January 13, 2017 at the age of 59.

Dear Dor,

Thank you Dor for loving me, protecting me, and taking such good care of me. What a treat it must have been for you at sixteen, to have to share your bed with a four year old. By all measures you were small in stature but in my eyes you were larger than life and I adored you.

I wish I could have spent more time with you, but alas you had far away places to go and people to see so I had to say good-bye to you much sooner than I wanted to. But thank you for making your friends wait just a little bit longer so I could spend that extra bit of time with you before you had to go.

Thank you Dor for the memories. Because we always lived so far apart I don’t have as many memories of good times together as I would like, but the one thing I have no shortage of, are memories of you.

You Dor were a superstar! A whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm who partied hard but worked even harder.

You were bossy as could be, hilarious as hell, and tough as nails. Wherever you went, everyone knew you and loved you. You were one of those rare people blessed with that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that everyone loves, but no one can put into words. There will never be another “Dor”.

Thank you Dor for waking up and dropping one last EFF bomb for me! Thank you for making me laugh one last time, for teaching me a lesson one last time, for giving me shit one last time, for hugging me one last time, and for sharing your bed with me one last time.

By all measures your illness had reduced you to a fragment of your former self, but you were still larger than life in my eyes and I still adored you. I wish I could have spent more time with you, but again you had far away places to go and people to see so I had to say good-bye to you much sooner than I wanted to. But thank you for making Roger wait just a little bit longer so I could spend that extra bit of time with you before you had to go.

Have a safe trip and I hope you both enjoy every bite of your caramel cakes!

P.S. I’ll be counting the days until our next visit.

Love you always,

Rachel

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Rachel thank you for sharing your beautiful story about your sister. You are in the army’s thoughts and prayers as you heal.

If you like this story you will also love “My Unconventional Family Teaches Me The True Meaning of Family”

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