My Sister, My Friend,”Sis” As We All Called Her!

I had a dream last night about my sister, “Sis”.  In the dream I was rolling her hair. She was going home to Georgia, where she lived with her daughter Teresa and her husband Richard. I was crying, as I didn’t want  her to leave to go home. When I woke up I couldn’t get it off my mind.

My mind raced back to the December I went down to Georgia to spend some time with her family.  Sis had been told that she had a spot on her lung and had an appointment with an oncologist after Christmas.  I wasn’t planning to stay but a week or two with them.

Teresa, Sis and I walked into the doctors office with high hopes that it wasn’t very serious. The doctor walked in with a grave look on his face. Then proceeded to tell us that he couldn’t do a thing for Sis. He explained all the reasons they couldn’t and said the only thing to do, was to just do nothing at all. We all three just sat there and looked at each other shocked and kinda numb. I will never forget that day. The doctor said “I will go out and send the nurse in to make the arrangements for Hospice to come in.”

After he left, Teresa burst into tears, then Sis and then me.   Sis looked straight at me and asked  “Will you stay with me?”  I answered, “As long as you need me”.   That started our journey together.  It ended the night God reached down, picked her up in His loving arms and carried her to Glory.

There is not enough money in this whole wide world to buy that experience from me.  You see, there was a little something wrong between my sister and me. I never did figure out what it was! She was nine years older so we  didn’t have any problems there. Sis always, somehow, felt that she wasn’t loved as much as some of the other brothers and sisters.  I think looking back at it all, that she was always so self-efficient that she sort of seemed like she didn’t need anyone else.  I remember that once, years later, when she asked Mama why she didn’t love her as much as she did some of the others.  She said mama just looked so SHOCKED that she would even think such a thing. Mama said “Sis, you just never seemed that you needed much attention”.   I guess the mother of eleven children had little time to ponder on too much of anything.

Loretta, our younger sister, and Sis had grown extremely close and were sharing an apartment together when my marriage fell apart.  I moved in with them, with my little three year old son, Kevin. I think Sis started feeling those old insecurities again. To be truthful, she wasn’t very kind to me for quite awhile, but finally we settled in and got along pretty well. I think she felt that I would try to take her place with Loretta.

I remarried a couple years later. My husband bought a restaurant and renamed it “Peggy’s Restaurant” which, eventually, he sold to Loretta.  To make a very long story short, as another old saying goes,  eventually six of the sisters and one brother worked there. I did the cooking for about twenty years in the back kitchen.  Sis had a stroke later on and was unable to work but she would come pretty early in the morning and sit at the counter where the serving window was located.  I would be in that kitchen, working my butt off and I would  turn around and look at Sis and both of us would just burst out laughing.  It was so funny!!!

Sometimes she would come up to spend a week with Loretta and me (she had gone back to Georgia to stay with Teresa). She was very Opinionated and didn’t mind one bit sharing her opinions.  Sometimes I would get angry and say something back to her and she would jump up and say “I’m calling Jason or Teresa one to come to get me.”  Then one day I said “Sis, you do this every time you come up here! This is crazy ! We are sisters and we love each other. This shouldn’t be.”  She stopped dead in her tracks and gave me that crooked grin and said “You’re right”!

I used to love going down there to spend time with them.

Then came the CANCER!!!   and a new journey began with Sis.  She didn’t like to take the medicine because she wanted to enjoy the time she had left with the loves of her life, her daughter Teresa. Richard, her son-in-law, her granddaughter Lori and her husband Steve,  her grandson Jason and his wife Gena and the brightest jewel of all, her  new great granddaughter, Makenzie. Man, how her face lit up when that baby was in the room, or better still, sitting on her lap.

When the Hospice nurses started coming in, I would be standing there at her bed and she would look at me and guess what would happen,  WE WOULD BURST OUT LAUGHING! The nurses would look at us and I would say “IT”S JUST A SISTER THING”. I would try to explain (as best I could)  why we did that. I confess, I didn’t even know, but it brought a lot of Joy to my hectic days at the cafe.

I will never forget at night, Teresa would come into her mama’s room and lay on the bed next to her mama. Sis would hold her in her arms and sometimes Teresa would almost go to sleep.  My heart would just nearly burst. As I would walk over to Sis at night and lean down to kiss her goodnight, she would always take my hand and hold it under her chin the longest time. Sometimes she would say “I always knew that If I ever needed anyone, you would be here”.

Eventually, she had to be moved to Hospice. We stayed most of the day. Teresa told me to come home and she would call if there were any changes. In the early morning hours, Sis went home to be with her Lord!  I think that is the meaning of my dream. I didn’t want her to go and I promised her I wouldn’t leave her and I did. I came home because we had had a rough night before and I was so tired. I didn’t get to say goodbye to her!   BUT, one of these days , I will lay down this old body of clay and go home to be with God and the rest of  my family .  When I see Sis, what do think will be the first thing we will do!!!!   Why, we will look at each other and burst out laughing!!!!

About Peggy

Peggy Chaney was best known as cook and co-owner of Peggy’s Restaurant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina (which she and her sister, Loretta, ran for over two decades). You can find her pages on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

One of eleven siblings, she was the daughter of a Baptist preacher, and was well remembered for her kind spirit and regard for others. Her genuine warmth and grace is sorely missed.

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2 Responses to My Sister, My Friend,”Sis” As We All Called Her!

  1. Kevin Lovelace July 21, 2008 at 5:48 pm #

    I miss Sis. Of course, I miss all of my aunts and uncles who are gone, but Sis was the one who had no problem with letting people know exactly what she thought. She was frustrating sometimes, but looking back on it I’d give just about anything to hear her grumbling about something.

    Hey, I knew most of the sisters had worked at the cafe, but which brother worked up there? I don’t think I remember that being mentioned before.

  2. Victoria July 21, 2008 at 5:46 pm #

    Another beautiful story….you have been an angel to so many people in your life. Serving others has been your calling for sure, even when you worked in the cafe, that was service to others. Yet, through all of the things you’ve been through, you have retained a child like spirit, and you always see the humor in things. You always have an easy laugh and you just don’t sweat the small stuff. That has been your biggest lesson to me, Mama. You have taught me SO MUCH in that. You are an amazing person in my eyes. I hope you’re keep writing the stories. We love reading them. I LOVE YOU!

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