Words from My Sister – Living, Loving and Laughing Through Cancer

A CaringBridge Journal inspires.

I was considered the writer in the family. Whether writing books or addressing an audience of soccer moms or CEOs, words seemed to flow effortlessly from my heart.

Many of my customers confessed they’d hang onto my newsletters for months, insisting their husbands and kids read them too. Never at a loss for inspiration or sharing a lesson learned, I had built a loyal following long before “Facebook” or “blog” were even part of our vocabulary.

My Sister’s Inspiring Words

Little did we know that my sister Darlene had words inside her that would one day inspire not only friends and family, but strangers throughout the country who’d heard about her strength and courage. She simply needed a platform to express herself.

For more than 30 years, Darlene battled congestive heart failure and cancer. When her weary body no longer responded to treatment, her spirit and mind gained even more clarity and perspective.

Knowing her days on earth were limited, she started a CaringBridge Site to let caring friends and family receive health updates. What many of us gained from her entries was so much more.

Look For Silver Linings

Using her CaringBridge Journal, she challenged us all to look for the silver lining, no matter how challenging our circumstances. One entry – filled with surprise, whimsy and brutal honesty – would inspire laughter; the next one, tears. Darlene’s words became a textbook on how to live and love. And hundreds of readers became loyal followers.

Here’s an example:

“One day, I was sitting on my porch enjoying a beautiful Minnesota summer evening when I decided to comb my hair. The chemo was really beginning to take effect and I noticed my hair was falling out in major clumps. I began to feel sorry for myself and was near tears of self-pity when I noticed a bird picking up my hair and using it to build her nest. Isn’t that beautiful?”

And another:

“I was sitting around the campfire when I noticed everyone but me was becoming increasingly annoyed with mosquitoes biting them. How come the mosqitoes weren’t biting me? I know. The chemo is so toxic, even the mosquitoes don’t want my blood! Thank God each time a mosquito tries to bite you!”

Eventually, we documented Darlene’s CaringBridge entries in a booklet called “The Potholes of My Life–Living, Loving and Laughing Through Cancer.” Now my sister is published too.

Thank You

Our family will always be grateful to CaringBridge for giving Darlene a platform to receive love and to be loved. In the process she became the true writer and inspirer in the family. I’ll take a back seat to my sister any day.

Where Do You See Silver Linings?

We’re always looking for them too, so sharing yours might help us find some new ones.

<a href=”http:///resources/author/cheryl-karpen/”>Cheryl Karpen</a> has authored 26 books and is best known for her “<a title=”Eat Your Peas” href=””>Eat Your Peas</a>” collection, a series that reflects her own goal in life: helping others communicate love, hope and encouragement when they can’t find the words themselves. She’s also the founder of <a title=”Gently Spoken” href=””>Gently Spoken</a>, a publishing and product development company, and Something Different, a lifestyle store dedicated to celebrating and inspiring women.

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Lila Sep 16, 2013 12:38pm
Amazing, Cheryl. You continue to inspire thousands, no millions, with your heart and meaningful words. Don't is your gift to the world.