August 13, 2023 by Molly Patrick

Rest in love

I was so nervous and scared about my sister Kirstie dying. When I thought about it, my stomach would tie up in knots, and I would feel queasy. I just couldn’t imagine it. Even though she was sick for many years, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that she would die.

And then she did. She died. On Monday at 5:45am, my niece called me, crying into the phone, telling me her mom had died 10 minutes earlier. I then told my parents what no parent should ever have to hear, and we went to my sister.

She was gone, but her body was there.
She was pale and cool to the touch.
Her mouth was open, eyes closed.
She looked peaceful and beautiful and dead.
No more rise and fall of her chest.
Her traveling necklace was still on.
I kissed her forehead and stroked her hair.
My mom put two brightly colored zinnia flowers under her hands that were gently folded on her abdomen.

My family and I hugged. We cried. We told stories. I asked the nurse for more tissues. I broke down in the hallway, leaning against the wall so I wouldn’t fall to the floor.

After a few hours, I asked the hospice social worker to call the funeral home and arrange for her body to be picked up. And that was that.

I miss her so much and can't believe she's gone. I finally understand what being heavy with sadness feels like. But I am no longer nervous or scared.

That’s the thing about fear, we usually feel it before the thing we’re afraid of happens. When the thing happens, we have no choice but to face it, get through it, and come out the other side, however that looks for each of us. All that fear and worry and anxiety moves away to make space for the present moment.

Every death in our lives prepares us for our own. 

Kirstie did not want to die, and she was scared of taking her final breath. A few days before she passed, she said, “Mol, you know I’m gonna keel soon, right?” I looked at her with a gentle smile and said, “Yes, my sister, I know. How do you feel about that?” She looked up at me with those beautiful, piercing blue eyes and said, “Well, not too bad. I think it’s going to be okay,” as she dozed off to sleep.

One of my favorite quotes about fear is by the Buddhist nun Christina Feldman:

Fear is the bridge between the known and the unknown. 

When we cross that bridge we start to shed our fear because the unknown starts to become known.

Now my sister knows what it’s like to be dead, and I know what it’s like to lose her.  There is no more fear, only love, a lifetime of memories, and gobs of sadness.

Rest in love, big sister. You will forever be missed.


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Written by ex-boozer and ex-smoker, Molly Patrick that will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.


Not for those offended by the F word.