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"Love to Death"

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Have you ever had an older sister you loved to death? I have, and the saying “loved to death” is a literal statement for me. Having a sick sibling is very hard for everybody, but losing a sibling is even worse.
My loving sister Erika was born with a horrible disorder called CDLS. This is a development disorder, it varies widely on different people. For my sister she had various symptoms. There was microcephaly, arched eyebrows, long eye lashes, low set ears, small upturned nose, and many more. Erika would also have various seizures. Being that she was born with this she had to stay in the hospital. My mom would spend days and nights at the hospital while dad would stay home and watch Britt, Luke, and I.
As all three of us got older we were then able to go to the hospital we would spend over half of our week at the hospital, and talk about what was happening to her. I was now three years old and Erika was eight. I remember seeing all of the machines she was hooked up to. Like the heart monitor for her breathing and a G tube in her belly for feeding. Each day went by fairly slow, but our family stuck together and helped each other out a lot.
Erika was able to go home here and there. She went to school in Neillsville and a nurse would go with her every day to help her eat at school and get all her medication. I would sit in the rocking chair every day waiting very impatiently for her to arrive back home. When she got home we had a daily routine. The nurse would bring her inside and set her right next to me in the chair. She and I would watch TV until supper time. Mom would feed Erika and I would eat with the family. After supper I would get my pajamas on and mom would put Erika’s on. Erika had her own room. It was the biggest room in the house because she had to be hooked up to so many things. Erika also had a hospital bed she slept in. Erika had many different nurses, but out of all of them I remember there was one nurse towards the end named Carol. Carol was always helping not only Erika, but our family. She became our friend because she knew how tough it was for us. It was only one month later that Erika was at home from the hospital. (She and I did our same routine again and again and that’s the main thing I remember and always will.) That night mom put her to bed.
I woke up the next morning running down stairs excited to go lay next to Erika in bed while mom would give her all her medication she needed. On my way running through the living room dad grabbed me, picked me up, and set me on his lap holding me. I looked around and the whole family was sitting in the living room. Mom was crying, Britt and Luke had an absolutely blank faces, and Dad sat there holding me tight not knowing what to say. As we sat there mom came up to me, kneeled down and said, “Rachel Erika has passed away”. I ran into the room and there she was. Laying in her bed all the machines were off and Carol came up to me, hugged me saying she’s in a better place. Next thing I knew the whole family was standing around her bed in tears. After a while mom called up her friend and asked if we kids could come over that morning and spend the night.
Days after, I sat in the chair watching TV with an empty spot beside me. I would sit there thinking she was gone forever. The funeral was then here. I could not sit still. Dad took me into the cry room. Burial was next. Luke then had to take me somewhere else because I was too loud for the moment.
Years passed and we all still remember Erika like she was just beside us like yesterday. As I grew up I would have dreams and run down stairs to Mom and cry about it because I missed Erika so much. After a while I realized Erika has always been by our sides no matter where we were. She has always been watching me mess up or accomplish something huge, and she still is today.
Fourteen years later
Our family didn’t lose anybody, if anything we gained somebody. We adopted a 2 year old seven years later. He is now nine and his name is Andrew. Let’s just say I “love him to death” to and nobody has, or ever will forget Erika. I say that because even Andrew will bring Erika up and ask questions about her, and I absolutely love to answer his questions. Our family is way over being completed by having Andrew join our family and knowing Erika is still with us today.





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