My sister was born the day the World’s Fair opened in New York and my mother wanted to name her June Fair. They lived in a small house that backed up against the fence around the fair grounds. I don’t recall that house. I remember the ceiling above my crib and the window curtains next to my bed.
Patricia Anne was a pretty girl with thick dark brown hair that I envied over my own blonde straight locks. Mine was always cut short, but Mom would brush hers to keep it neat. Although she was four years older, we were close. We shared a room and an old double-bed. She comforted me when I was frightened. Encouraged me. Loved me.
She got really sick when she was fourteen and dropped into a coma. Diabetes was the diagnosis and the family routine changed. We went to the hospital often and Mom cooked healthy food for her, something we all ate since she refused to cook two meals.
Pat married a good man named Robert. She had two boys and adopted a lovely blonde girl before the disease disabled her. Diabetes can be terrible. Her vision failed and she could no longer read the books she loved. Her kidneys failed and she needed dialysis. I would walk her around her yard, describing the flowers she had planted that were a blur.
Loving her family, she held on for five years. They wouldn’t use my kidney for her: I had children of my own to care for. When she went into the hospital that last time, I visited daily. She told me how much she loved her husband. Through all the medical expenses, the illnesses, everything, he always made her feel loved and that she was never a burden. For that alone, Bob deserves a seat in Heaven.
So, Patricia Anne Nadeau died at the age of thirty-five. I woke up screaming at three am and knew she was dead. My sister, my friend.
This is to celebrate her life, not her death.