Thursday, April 3, 2014

My sister, the angel

From left: Sharon, me.
Today I miss my sister. I would give anything to spend another day with her. I would give anything for her to meet my babies. I'm working on the story of my life before I submit it for publishing, and today I'm working on her chapter. At the same time, 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri is playing in the background, and I was completely stopped in my tracks.

 I would like to share an excerpt of the untitled story of my life:

Sharon, who technically was my cousin, was really my long lost soul sister.  When I think of her, I see hot summer dust filled days spent together working on the farm.  I see us sneaking off on our horses for whole days, off exploring the desert.  I see the one person in my life who was strong enough to break me, yet delicate enough to hold me when I cried.  I think of her rocking herself to sleep every night because her childhood was also filled with trauma.  Those tender moments when the darkness set in left her vulnerable, yet if you met her in the daylight, you would think twice to cross her.  She could always lift more, work faster, and was braver than I ever could be.  Sharon was the only one who really heard me both when I was talking and when I wasn’t. 
My mind wanders to the rawest day of my life.  Sharon saddled up our horses without a word.  Silently I rode behind her far out to the middle of nowhere.  No words were spoken.  Tears streamed down my face and I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die.  Even my horse could sense my despair, because she gingerly followed along without any of her usual attitude about not being the horse in front.  Finally, we came to the top of a hill, and Sharon stopped and climbed down.  It was beautiful.  You could see forever.  I climbed down, and she said, “Just scream.”  I instantly understood.  I screamed.  She leaned against a rock and watched for a while, then picked up a rock and threw it.  I followed suit and screamed and threw rocks for what seemed like days, and she silently watched me, until I fell to the ground sobbing.  Then she came over to me and put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I know.”  And we spend the rest of the afternoon crying together. 
Sharon never expected anything out of me other than to not give up.  When I didn’t think I could lift another pipe, she made me.  When I didn’t think I could lift my head off the pillow, she threw me out of bed.  When I didn’t want to participate in therapy, she came with me and held my hand.  When I didn’t want to do my chores, she followed me around and made sure they got done.  What I learned from her is how to be next to someone without taking their despair on as my own.  I learned never to give up.  I learned to carry on.  I learned to be patient, kind, strong, compassionate, and that sharing a moment didn’t need to contain words.
Just when I thought life would be better, I got a phone call.  It was my aunt sobbing hysterically.  I didn’t understand.  I didn’t know what she was saying, and then clear as day, she cried, “Sharon’s dead.”


  There's a long story leading up to my strength to share the story of my life with others, and Damsel in Defense is part of that.  So much growth in myself as a survivor has happened since I became part of this organization.  The mission is clear, and beautiful, and terrible, and terrifying, but if though my work I help one person, than Sharon's life, which was all too short, was for something larger than just me.  I believe she was placed in my life at the right time for a reason, and now I can pay that forward.

If any of the Damsel mission sits on your heart, please contact me for more information on how to order, join the mission, or how to get more involved, please email or learn more at

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