My journey with my sister Jill was an important episode in my life. From the very beginning of Jill’s life my relationship with her was a difficult one. Jill was ill as a child and suffered some physical and mental impairments. In treating Jill with deference as one would expect them to do, my parents allowed Jill to become manipulative. Should my other sisters or myself not fulfill Jill’s demands, we were reprimanded. As the youngest child and born after my parents thought their childbearing days were over, Jill was given more latitude in her upbringing. To be honest about Jill’s behavior, it would be truthful to say that she was spoiled.
Jill was the youngest of the four of us and seven years younger than the next youngest, Christine. I am assuming that Jill did not feel part of the family, that she felt left out many times although she never said so just due to the distance in our ages. We moved from Pittsburgh when Jill was still an infant, so she did not have the same experiences with the extended family which the other three of us had. Jill was often angry, and as she grew older refused at times to cooperate with family activities. Consequently, as we all continued to grow and change as our lives changed, I had little interaction with Jill. Jean, Christine and I complained about Jill’s actions, as we saw them as hurtful to our parents. Jill’s activities and behavior often left our parents with financial problems to solve on her behalf. While I would occasionally try to intervene, my attempts were not appreciated by either my parents or my sister Jill.
When mom and dad and then my sisters Jean and Christine passed away, I knew that I was required to assist Jill and befriend her. As my sisters and I were growing up, I was told that as the oldest I was required to take care of my sisters. Mom and dad may not have meant that I should care for my sisters all of my life, but that is how I understood their counsel and have tried to honor their advice.
Though Jill’s high school years were troubled, she did graduate and began to make a life for herself. It was very different from my life as she changed jobs often and didn’t seem to find where she fit in. Jill lived with a friend after she moved to Texas, who helped her throughout the years they lived together. Jill’s friend helped her during treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphona. His behavior to her was exemplary. He was her protector. He helped Jill make decisions about her health care and together they formed a life which was acceptable and even pleasant for them. They made plans for their future, though they would never be a married couple – their relationship was not physical but platonic.
The posts that are shown on this page are a history of the walk that I made with Jill the last four years of her life – from the death of Christine in 2014 to Jill’s passing into God’s arms on March 25, 2019. In many of the posts I am angry. It wasn’t a walk that I wanted to take, but journeying with Jill changed my life and me. I am self-centered, selfish and somewhat arrogant individual, and I am not generally a touchy feely person. Helping, visiting, even speaking with someone who was unknown to me is not something I would ordinarily do. I found myself doing and acting at the beginning of Jill’s and my more close association, because I thought it was my “job” and then later because I truly began to love and admire my youngest sister. Her life had been very difficult and painful. Though Jill’s lifelong smoking habit had damaged her health and perhaps caused many of her physical problems, I still grieved deeply for her when she passed away. I still think of Jill daily and regret that it took so long for me to get to know her.
I know that God was present in this journey, because He changed my heart. The posts are not in order. I tried unsuccessfully to rearrange them, but at least there is a record of what transpired the last few of years of Jill’s life. May God bless my sister Jill and bring her close to His Heart.