At this time the deterioration of my sister Gladys was taking a toll on the family. I was just entering my 15 years of age and High School was a huge thing in my life. My sister who was my role model was living with us. You see she had gotten very sick and was walking in and out of the hospital constantly. Her beautiful looks were gone. What was once a beautiful cinnamon skinned young woman with long hair who i looked up to was now a very skinny cadaver looking woman with no hair. She was undergoing chemotherapy. It was twice a week. I can remember because on Saturdays when she had to go to her therapy I would go with her. Sometimes she wanted me to go but for the most part I went along because I wanted to go with her. I always wanted to be around my sister. I loved her well into her death. I was so young and though I knew what cancer was I really didn’t know the severity of it and how in the long run it was going to take our family and kill each of us on our own way.
My sister Gladys was the oldest one. At the time she was the only child from my mother’s side that lived this long. My mother already had lost a young daughter at the age of 9. The relationship my mother and my sister had was very close. They were fric and frac. Where there was one there was the other. They were inseparable. As a family unit we grew up all together. My sister moved but she always lived a few blocks away from us.
This day Gladys was not feeling to well. She was very depressed and I remember that when they put her on the chair to begin her treatment she had sent for me. That day we stood and had one of our many conversations. This particular conversation we spoke about her. My sister always told me how she felt and there was always a lesson after. As she was talking to me Gladys started to cry. Up until this time she never once cried. When the radiation started to darken her face she never cried. When her face started to droop on one side Gladys never cried. When the chemo took all her hair she never cried. That’s why when I finally saw her cry it made me so sad.I was shocked. I distinctly remember that I didn’t cry. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to. She had confessed to me how this was affecting her. How tired she was. That she loved me and how appreciative she was of our mother. This broke me. It was then and there that I saw how human she was, how strong she had been until this moment. All this time my sister was my superhero. I looked up to her. She didn’t give a shit what she looked like when her looks started to fade and she was not recognizable. She continued to walk around and doing what she needed to do. She always was tough as nails. She took no shit from anyone. I have seen her beat women as well as men. She continued to be this way till her death.
When she finished her treatment we went home quietly. I remember her holding my hand. There was so much said without words. I knew that what had transpired at the hospital was just between us. I never told her that on that day I became the older brother. That that day I knew that it would be a matter of time that she would leave this earth. Something hardened in me that I took with me. I also knew that the world was not the same. It was the day that I took of the rose colored glasses.