After a long fight with hep c and diabetes, they took her off life support. She was 10 years older than me. My strongest memory if of her trying to care for us, her 9 brothers and sisters when my mom was ill. She was only 17 herself, and that part only lasted like 2 months. Then most of us were shipped off to the Gulag….otherwise known as St. Paul’s Home for Boys and Girls. That word home? That’s a misnomer. It was more like a prison camp run by nuns. And I reI member she would come to see us, with my father and another brother and sister who were too old for the gulag.
When we got out she went away to college and never really came home after that except for short visits. So we were never close and the worst part is how conflicted her illness and death makes me feel because it’s all mixed up with the gulag.
She had an AVM an arterial venous malformation in her brain so in her 30’s she had experimental brain surgery that left her with cerebral palsy from brain damage and a pesky transfusion loaded with hep c virus. they didn’t test the blood in the 80’s. She had to learn to walk and talk and eat all over again. She was a fighter! Her physical therapy was swimming and she competed in the paralympics and senior olympics and won many gold medals.
I wish I could go to her funeral but the anxiety won’t allow that!
But one thing is for sure, I’m going to miss her.