She passed away on Thursday. She was 34. It wasn't fair and it sure as hell wasn't planned. She had kidney failure, brought on by lupus and other ailments. The doctors said she wouldn't make it past 30. She planned on living forever. I planned on her doing the same.
As I write this, numb from the shock, the eulogy I had to give, and the realization that my Christmases will be bittersweet for the rest of my life I wanted to say that Tracey was the best damn sister anyone could ever have. She loved my kids like they were her own. If I set a rule, buddy, that was it. She was on board with upholding it until she heard otherwise.
Tracey was a memory maker. She lit up my life, even when she broke her foot on Halloween in our storm drain. Only she could have found that in all the leaves. I spent her last birthday with her. She cried when I took a picture of her with my daughter. She said that we were the best family and that she cherished us. She would send me random texts telling me what a great "sis" I was. I would do the same, but she was so much better at it than me.
She was my cheerleader. When I decided to begin screenwriting, she was one of my elite few that I would share ideas with. She wasn't afraid to tell me if she'd go and see it or not. She helped me. My children adored her.
She was a champion. She faced horrible odds with her health and she never complained. She would get tired, but she never asked, "Why did this happen to me?" I never once heard her say it wasn't fair. Which I don't think it was. Not in the slightest. Even at her sickest she would still make time for all of us. We would have parties and movie nights. My daughter would visit and they would have girly days.
Because of seizures, Tracey couldn't see movies. I would have to see them for her and then tell her if they were good to rent. We'd grab a blanket, turn the lights off, and share popcorn and watch (and sometimes mock) the ones she'd rent. I will forever miss that.
I found out that my sweet sister had passed from my husband. He's a paramedic and heard the call go out on the radio. He asked me to call to see if Tracey was okay, which, I did, seeing as she was only ten minutes away from me. She didn't answer the phone. Someone did. I didn't recognize the voice. They told me that Tracey was gone.
My heart shattered.
For the next 48 hours I was a blubbering mess. I'd be fine for a half hour maybe, and then the grief would crash over me like a wave and I'd lose it. I told my kids, but, it just never sank in...
... until the funeral.
When my kids, my daughter especially, saw her in her casket, it was all over. My precious thirteen year old daughter with her first real experience with death. At first she tried to be tough, but once the tears started, she sobbed the entire funeral. Why not? It was her aunt that was gone from her life. Her aunt who'd take her shopping, and out to eat, and have the girly days with. I'd say our family was devastated, but that's too light a word for one to wrap their head around the pain we all felt seeing her, cold, posed, and surrounded by satin and flowers.
Today I buried my sister, Tracey Michelle. I gave the eulogy and slaughtered it with gasps, tears, and high pitch squeaks that no human should emit in times of pain.
But I wanted all of you to know, my readers and fans, that Tracey Michelle was once credit away from graduating college. She was going to be a sign language interpreter for the deaf.
She helped out the Special Olympics Bowling Teams every year. She'd plan her life around those days.
She loved helping people and loving people.
She was full of life and oozed with love.
She battled kidney failure, lupus, autoimmune disorder, and countless other ailments but always put others first. I watched her body swell from steroids and medicines her doctors tried as they attempted to save her.
She taught me what selflessness was all about.
I always thought I'd have more time with her, that she'd be in a hospital and I'd get a last goodbye in. But I guess if life wasn't fair to her, why should I expect it to be fair to me? I don't know what I did to deserve to have her in my life, but I thank God she was in it. Forever a bright spot, she's taken a part of my heart with her to Heaven. I pray we have mansions side by side.
I know this is a screenwriting blog, but I wanted you to know that the world lost a precious gem, a jewel, on July 1st.
And it was my sister, Tracey Michelle Barrow.
Tracey Michelle Barrow
Nov. 10, 1975 - July 1, 2010