I am not a horse.
For most of you, this probably isn’t too surprising. For my 7-year-old sister, however, the news was devastating. In hindsight, my parents should have been more specific as they were rushing out the door towards the hospital back in 1970, because when they promised her they’d bring back something she’d really love, she naturally expected a pony. Instead, they brought back me.
You can imagine her disappointment.
It’s hard to make up for something like that and, honestly, I don’t think she ever really forgave me for not having a tail or braidable mane. But she eventually learned to love me, despite these flaws. I know because she told me when I went away to college. And when I got married, and when I had kids, and every time we hung up the phone after I moved away. And she told me one last time as I laid next to her in a hospital bed 16 years ago today.
I used to believe that cancer took away her life, but that’s not true. Cancer took away her breath. Her life remains intact in the memories we shared, in the love she gave, and in the enduring dreams of her son, daughters, and grandchildren. I hope she knows this. I also hope she knows how much I miss her everyday.
I’m not exactly sure what happens in The Great Hereafter, but I do believe I’ll see her again. I just pray she’ll already have a horse by then.