Friday, December 14, 2012

Summer nights and rules for living

It was in many ways a perfect summer night.

We were enjoying the breeze of my mother’s porch, my sister Carol draped prettily over an oversized chair. We spoke of many things, with laughter punctuating the conversation.

I remember her laughter well. If I listen closely I can still hear it. I remember her smart and sassy responses. The slight smug smile. Grace. Dignity. Her brave soul. That accepting nature. The funny little snort sound when she really laughed. (Sorry Carol, it had to be said). All that coupled with her killer sense of style.  

Given the overall lighthearted nature of the conversation, no one would have guessed Carol was battling terminal cancer. That was the beauty of Carol. I was trying to wrap my arms around autism. I knew my struggle paled in comparison.

It was on this night we jointly developed our rules for living, most I still live by today. In honor of Carol’s birthday, I’d like to share them: 

• Find the humor in life. Remember to laugh.
• If someone asks if your fake diamond earrings are "real" the
correct answer is yes. If you can touch them they are real.
• You are not required to answer stupid questions, but stupid questions are not an excuse to be rude.
• Be considerate – you aren’t the only one fighting a battle.
• Wear pink sometimes. Pink is a very good color.
• If you have cancer, it is OK use it to your advantage once in a while.
• Don’t eat snakes. Just don't.
• Do whatever you need to do to get from here to tomorrow, as long as it is (mostly) legal.
• If today isn’t a good day, tomorrow will be. A good day will eventually come.
• Don’t expect happiness to find you. Go look for it.
• For chemo, wear a sparkly cardigan. It is both stylish and provides good access for your port. In fact always wear something a little sparkly.
• Diamonds are nice but anything that sparkles will do.
• There is no such thing as denial. Denial is just hope in disguise.

And lastly and possibly my favorite:
• Always accessorize. Always.

On this cold December day will wear my sparkly scarf and remember Carol. I will remember the laughter and the tears. But mostly the laughter. Happy birthday little sister. 

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