My sister and I have a favorite saying, “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.” We have used this saying over and over for years. We are always in awe that people think we are so strong. We are not strong but the God that we serve IS. Both of our husbands died within 7 months of each other. We grieved but did not let our grief consume us. For a while we both went into auto pilot. We were not the first to lose our husbands nor will we be the last. As I have said before, life is sometimes difficult but it is how you deal with the difficulties that count. We didn’t see we had any choices, we had to move forward and so we did.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer my first thought was of my own children but my very next thought was of my sister. We raised each other; she and I. She has been my mother, my sister, my best friend and my spiritual counselor; all of these people rolled into one tiny 4’ 10” body frame. I knew that this would be some of the hardest news she would ever receive and I so desperately wished I could spare her this one. I cannot.
Over the course of years, I have been the better “nurse” but this week, Glenda has outshined me. Her eyes still mist with tears as she bleeds the three drains tubes coming out from my body. I have hand grenades that extend from tubes coming from the incisions. The tubes need to be “bled “twice each day. The fluid drains into these small “hand grenades” that hang by a ribbon around my neck. She bleeds, drains, measures and records the fluid morning and night. She tries so hard not to cry the first time she sees my wounds. She cries some; I do not. I smile and tell her to wear her big girl panties and be strong for me. She laughs and cries at the same time and says, “I don’t want to wear them today.” I love her more at that moment than I ever have before. Some days I have to admit, I wear my “big girl panties” but they are held up by two safety pins. She is the real hero here and I love her more than words can say.