For those of you who have been in my life at any point in time over the past 21 years know my Sister from another mother - SAS.
We met at freshman move in day at AU in 93. We were two first born girls, with relatively young parents (her's even younger than mine), with much younger siblings. We were 18, SAS had a 14 year old sister JSM and an 8 year old sister Nean.... (I had an 8 year old sister Lolo and 7 year old brother Unc at the time).
SAS and I became instant friends and we each became additional sisters/ daughters to the other family. SAS came with me often to visit in NY and I spent many summers with her at her parents' home on the Cape.
When we graduated from college SAS and I and W rented a row house together on Capital Hill, SAS was in my wedding party and present at the birth of one and a half of our four children...and is Bob' godmother.
Her younger sister JSM moved here to DC area after she graduated from college, met her husband and settled here. A few years ago SAS moved back to New England, but JSM and her husband stayed here. We got to be not only friends through her sister, but friends ourselves as adults. JSM lovingly called our home the "abyss" ....some might think that is because our house is a mess.... which according to some family members it is...but this was JSM's way of expressing how people can say they are stopping by SCentral for a short time - and end up staying much longer than expected. It makes me smile that she coined that term for us.
In March of 2011 JSM and her husband G had two beautiful baby boys - twins. It was amazing to watch this young woman transform to an amazing wife and mother. While she was pregnant with the boys, she felt a lump. Whatever the reason there were back and forths and suggestion to come back when she was finished nursing.
August of 2011 - when the boys were less than 5 months old, at the age of 32 JSM was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer that had spread already to her liver and bones.
When JSM messaged me to tell me about her diagnosis she said:
"Often when someone is sick so many people want to know how the "sick" person is doing and how they can help them. . . well if you are wondering that at anytime. . . now or in the future, please help me by being support to my family (and Hubby) as you and they feel appropriate. That is what I want the most."
It has been a long 2.5 years for her family. In June of 2013 JSM, G and the twins moved in with her parents. Nean, her husband and their son (weeks apart from the twins) and SAS all live in New England and have created a support system 2nd to none for G, JSM and the boys.
This week the world lost JSM...but more importantly G lost his partner in life, K and E, at the age of three, lost their mom, T and M lost their daughter, SAS and Nean loss their sister...Grandma and Grandpa S lost their granddaughter...She was such an amazing, gracious, humble fighter....We are devastated for their loss.
I am trying to figure out how to continue to honor JSM and her wishes...I have not figured that one out yet.
As for SAS - From our 18 year old selves on 5th floor Hughes, to that infamous road trip to and from FL in which I would not fight with her, to RA training, to our summers on the cape trying to dye our brown hair and trips to crazy NY...to the MANY nights she stayed up to keep me company while I pulled an all nighter...to my amazing bachelorette party, to being in the room for 1.5 of my births...to practicing being an "Auntie" on my kids so she could be a perfect one for JSM and Nean's boys...to becoming the "fudge lady"...to our present day 38 year old selves (at least for a few weeks/months when we turn 39) she has always been next to me no matter how many days have passed or miles are in physically between...
SAS is such a support to everyone - and she has been one to me for the past 21 years -SAS does not like sappy, she is stoic, she is patient, she is practical, she is loving, she is kind, she is sarcastic and funny...but after 21 years of sisterhood....I know that SAS is bottling it up inside, while worrying about others.
I am hoping to be able to do something to support her so she too may grieve in a way that is appropriate for her... If that means multiple pitchers of margaritas and making fun of those we love...and some we love to hate, that is what we will do. After all, I owe it to SAS and I made a promise to JMS...and intend to honor her and that promise.