Sisterly love valued and not forgotten

By Marianne McKim
November 29, 2001

I am writing in response to Jill Hindman’s “No one understands you like a sister.”

I believe it was the first story that I ever read in the Loquitur that has made me cry. The reason why I got so emotional reading her story was because it was so touching to see such a wonderful connection between Jill and her sister, one that I will never be able to have.

It started years ago when my sister, Beth, my flesh and blood, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Her disease took us to Seattle, Wash., where we lived for a short time. She was at a cancer research center and received a bone marrow transplant. The bone marrow was from my brother, who was a perfect match.

Things were looking up and she was in great spirits and was finally able to come home. When we flew back to Hanover, Pa., I started school in the fall and so did she. In October, she had a relapse and had to go down to NIH (National Institute of Health) in Maryland, where she spent time before our trip out to Seattle.

On Oct. 12 of that same year, I’ll never forget, my dad was at the hospital with Beth when my mom, brother and I received a phone call from him. I didn’t know what was going on, but my mom left in a hurry and was gone for hours. When she returned home she was with my dad.

This was unusual to me because one of my parents always stayed at Beth’s side. My mom was crying and I knew something was wrong. I finally asked the dreadful question, “Where’s Beth?” It was followed by an unforgettable answer, “Marianne, Beth passed away.” After hearing this my whole world started to crumble.

Trying to cope with something as devastating as losing a sister was near impossible. However, life must go on. What intrigued me to write this was reading how Jill always thinks of her sister when hearing Bette Middler’s tune, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I, like Jill, think of my sister, but for different reasons.

Beth wasn’t in my shadow but always was and forever will be the wind beneath my wings. Even though she is not here to share special moments, or everyday activities with me, she has made me a stronger person.

It’s hard for me when I see sisters together, sharing such trivial things, like shopping with each other. I often wonder what it would be like to have her here. I can only imagine the joy she would bring to my life. She would have just turned 26 on Nov. 13 and I’ll be 22 in December. I’ll never have her physically here with me ever again. I know that she is always with me though. She helps me in her own special way everyday.

I wish she was here, but I know my wish will never come true.

I loved her so much. We rarely fought. She was the ideal sister. I still love her and nothing could ever change that. It’s hard to lose your best friend. It’s like a piece of me is missing and that gap will never be filled. I’d like to dedicate this article to my sister, Beth. She was the best friend that I unfortunately lost. You were truly the most special girl and best sister in the world. I love you.

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Marianne McKim

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