Sunday, June 5, 2011

Requiem in Pacem, Ann

On Monday, May 30, I got the news while on vacation that my beloved sister Ann had died that afternoon, after courageously battling breast cancer for 51 months. I knew that she didn't have a lot of time left - just five days before, the oncologist suspended treatment and told her she had a few weeks left. But I never thought that she would die just a week after I last saw her, and when I said goodbye to her that morning, I never suspected that it was the last time I would ever see her.

I wrote this the next afternoon, scribbling it out on paper on the cruise ship and deciding not to edit it, since it reflected my emotions at the time without any assistance from rhyme searching software. I know I will miss Ann the rest of my life.

"For Ann"

Today, Ann, is the first day since the day I was born
That you're not here upon this earth, and I feel so forlorn
Perhaps some time there'll come a day when of grief I am shorn
But if so, that is not today, as from your death I mourn.

Remember times when we were kids, and we would laugh and play?
Not once did it occur to me that you'd be gone someday.
Though sunny where I got the news, inside 'twas dark and grey
You're at eternal rest now, but from us you've gone away.

For months now, I have struggled to not break down and weep
I'd watch your face with sadness as exhausted you would sleep
Your grit and spunk inspired me as you climbed a hill so steep
And every step along the way, your courage did you keep.

That evil cancer hit you hard in this, your final, year
I came as often as I could, though you lived nowhere near
I feared that someday in the spring, I'd lose my sister dear
'Twas on the thirtieth of May the sad news did I hear.

Now death has come and taken you so very far from me
But as long as I can draw a breath, then in my heart you'll be
Oh, God and Blessed Mary, I beseech you, hear my plea:
Grant my beloved sister joy and peace eternally!

Art Ritter
May 31, 2011


Ann Marie said...

Hi Art - So sorry to hear of your sisters passing. I'm sure after 51 months of cancer fighting, she was ready to go home and be pain free. Another reason to fuel your endurance racing and fundraising. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Ann Marie

Elayne said...

Oh Art, I am so very sorry to hear this.Your poem was heartfelt and beautifully written. My prayers are with you and yours~ your friend, elayne

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Ann Marie - she was such a fighter, that even after months of sheer exhaustion, she was still trying to fight it. The last day I saw her, a week before her death, she was talking about wanting to see what more the doctor could suggest. She clung to life tenaciously. But it was not to be, and she is at peace now. Thanks so much for the comment. Art

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Elayne. I much appreciate your comment and the continued prayers. You know first hand how awful this disease is. Stay strong! Art

Happyone : ) said...

Oh Art, I am so sorry to hear of your sisters death. Wish I had words of comfort that would help - I pray God will comfort you and your family.

Elsbeth said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Art. Something compelled me to come back, and now I see. You're in my thoughts and prayers and may you find comfort in God and those around you during this time.
- E

Kristi Hope said...

Art, I haven't been checking your blog as often as I should, obviously. I am so sorry to hear that Ann finally succumbed. But I am sure she is at peace now. I'm glad you didn't edit your poem. It's perfect the way it is! Good luck on your three day walk. I know it will be an extremely emotional experience for you.

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Karen, Elsbeth, and Kristi. I never imagined losing a brother or sister this young. I miss her so.

Thanks for the comments on my poem, Kristi. I like it too, the way it is. I felt like I was somehow talking to her one last time as I wrote it that day. I need to heal this PF to do the walk, but I have faith. I'd like to walk with you some once my foot is back to normal. Art

Hopesrising said...

Art, I am so sorry to hear about your sister, Ann. Having lost a sibling I know this isn't an easy at all.
My thoughts and prayers sure go out to you and your entire family daily.
I have been so busy helping family and all the dental stuff not reading as I usually do.
Hugs and prayers,
Take care of you.

Racn4acure said...

Thanks for your condolences, Kerry. It is horrible to lose a sibling, isn't it? Until last year, I never even considered this could happen to my family so young. I've not been reading as much either, but I hope your dental travails are better now. Thanks much. Art

Kim said...

What a loving tribute your poem is...I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. My prayers to you and your family.

Racn4acure said...

Thanks so much, Kim. I appreciate the condolences and the prayers very much. Art