I've blogged briefly about my sister before (well, one of them anyway!). But having read something that really irritated me, I feel like she deserves another blog post all her own.
Heather is 2 years older than I am. Growing up, we fought a LOT. I know sibling rivalry happens all the time, but I REALLY disliked her. I thought she was mean. I'm sure I was no better! She and I were talking recently and I told her how much I wish we hadn't had all those years of not liking each other. I really missed out on having a great friend. At any rate, people change, and during my high school years, Heather really made an effort to be kind to me. I started liking her! Yeah, we weren't best buddies, but I actually liked her. She even did my hair and makeup for my senior pictures.
When Heather had her accident, I have to admit, I felt a little robbed. Here was this girl who I had finally started to get along with, and now this happened. Completely selfish? Most definitely. (I WAS a teenager, after all.) Of course, that's not the only thing I was feeling then, not by a long shot.
The majority of people who read this blog know Heather and what happened to her. I know I've mentioned it before and have linked her blog. (http://paralyzedwithjoy.blogspot.com) But to give the story in a very tiny nutshell: When she was 19, Heather was in a horrible car crash on her way home from nursing clinicals. Amongst her many injuries, her neck broke, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. More than 7 years later, Heather relies completely on others to care for her. Modern technology allows her to do things like blog through voice-command software, and breath without a ventilator thanks to electrodes implanted on her diaphragm.
I read a blog post recently by another paralyzed woman who had been directed to Heather's blog. I was completely shocked at this person's reaction, which basically (to me) mocked Heather's ability to find joy in her life despite her disability. It made me so angry! I wanted so badly to leave a comment on her blog and defend my sister. Fortunately, my cooler side won out and I refrained from posting what would have been an incredibly scathing comment.
Heather is one of the strongest, most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Despite an accident that would leave many people bitter and miserable, Heather continues to seek joy in life, and just to be a generally happy and upbeat person. I admire her so much. I simply do not have the personality or the character to go through what she has been through and still come out the same bright, optimistic person. If it were me in that bed, I would be bitter, angry, resentful, you name it. I know that about myself.
But not Heather. I don't know how she does it, really. I know she has an incredible amount of faith. I know the beliefs we share are encouraging and comforting to her. I KNOW all that. But I still can't wrap my head around how she manages.
She is one of the truly beautiful people in this world. I love her so much. I admire her. And I am so proud to be her sister.