Wednesday, July 20, 2011
My Sister's A Keeper
Today I am privileged to attend my sister's graduation from a program which trained and certifies her to be a Certified Nurses Assistant and a Home Heath Assistant. Her goal, to work caring for the dying in home hospice.
To say I am inspired by her courage, her enormous heart, her resilient and hard working spirit, her life's journey, is an understatement. She has not been dealt an easy life; from spousal abuse to panic and agoraphobia, raising two kids alone, helping support her grandchildren, being forced to resign from an unsafe work environment, being unable to find employment in her field (600 applicants for one position), I have watched her walk through fire again and again, and come out not just stronger, but like the phoenix rising; with a heart more and more open; more in touch with who she is, the gifts she has to give, and what, for her, comprises a life worth living.
Never have I seen a person more suited to the work they are drawn to do. She doesn't just bathe, shave, change diapers, braid hair, she respects and loves her patients. She feels honored to be able to work with them. The work is hard, it is grueling, it is emotional. And yet, and even, knowing there's a good chance she'll never make what she did at her former job, that she may not even really make a living wage, but because it makes her soul sing, she can't wait to get at it.
Today, Nin, you are my hero. I am so proud of you. I am so in awe of you. To watch you meet, oftentimes shaking in your boots, all that life has offered you; each new heartache, every new adventure; leaving a husband who beat you, an employer who abused you; paralyzing anxiety; watching your children suffer their own serious hardships; learning to trust life (and men!) again; terrified of flying, but getting on that little plane anyway to visit me in Moloka'i; the fear of going back to school at the ripe young age of 56, then learning anew how smart and capable you are, and a whole new trajectory and meaning to life. And now, oh the irony, valedictorian... I can't wait to hear your speech, knees buckling, voice quivering and all, cuz I know it will come straight from the heart, it's the only way you know to do it - lucky us - and I'm sure there won't be a dry eye in the place.
See you soon! Thank you for all that you are. I love you so much.