December 1, 2008 1:49 PM

R.I.P Minnie Broas 11.28.08

My terminally ill sister has finally passed. And as expected, my family is severely emotionally impacted. You think you can prepare for these things but when it happens you realize just how much of a false endeavor that is. The family counselor gave us a pamphlet that attempted to explain death with a list of things that are often observed at certain stages (i.e. 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 hour). The very first thing it mentioned was that the details in the pamphlet were not to be expected as true for everyone because even death is unique to each person. Well, it definitely was for her, and for my family.

She has had a long fight with GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor). She was married for almost 25 years (10 months short) and has a son of 16. The love that emanated from their family was unlike any other. She's always been a healthy person, ran in several marathons, had the heart of an athlete. Her son reflects her athletic abilities with amazing soccer skills. He's even training now for the next Olympics and has had several offers for a professional career. Minnie is such a beautiful person. She has one of those personalities that radiate and make you feel like you've known her forever.

In her final months, her husband stayed home and did his work at her side. Each moment was too precious to let go. The remainder of the family, myself included, rotated taking care of her as she had already reached a point where she could not do so herself. This included bathing, eating, moving, defecating and all the simple things that most people take for granted. She continued to intake food and drink although it was taken up by the tumors leaving her nothing to absorb. Overall, those months were like a rollercoaster ride. Some days she would seem practically normal and have regular conversations with you, laughing along at jokes, as if she were healthy again. Other days, she would have seizures which were scary in themselves because she had a request for no resuscitation. She so longed to go but was often unable to.

About 2 weeks ago, she requested for some key people in her life to be at her side. That included my other brothers and sister, and her parents. Then on Tuesday, everyone returned back to take care of work and other things expecting to return on Sunday. At the time, Minnie seemed normal and said she would be fine until they returned. Even on Thanksgiving, she was still eating despite having some breathing problems.

Finally on Friday, she mumbled some words which made no sense in the order they came out and faded away. There was no pain in her passing and she was in the presence of her husband and son, her two beloved boys.

Naturally, everyone feels a degree of guilt, wishing that they had stayed for her last breath, wishing they didn't miss that phone call, wishing they didn't have other responsibilities at the time. But it's good to know that she is finally free of pain and that she is finally where she wants to be. This is what I try to keep in mind and all I can do is be there for the rest of my family.

She decided to donate her body to research so that others may benefit from whatever knowledge science learns of her case.

Rest in peace, sister.

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