In Memoriam


November 10, 1978, a girl was born.  A dark force did not want her here, so it cursed her, cursed her with spina bifida occulta and hydro encephalitis.   With an improperly closed spine and water on the brain, she fought her way into this world and faced that dark force.  Tubes shoved up her delicate neck and into her newly woken brain, and knives stabbed into her soft lower back, doctors battled the dark forces, served as her warriors in her first conflict.  They knew she had a secret power.

The girl won the battle.  But when she was three years old, she ran barefoot down an alley with her older brother who had worn his shoes.  Glass hurled itself under her left heel, and plunged into her tissue, severed a nerve.  Bleeding everywhere, she was whisked away to the hospital again, crying, suddenly aware what her mother’s command meant: “Put your shoes on before you go outside.”  Outside was a dangerous place.  It always had been.  Her brother ran for home and help.

Again, she summoned her warriors, and they swooped in with their medical technology.  They brandished scalpels and needles, and blood sprayed everywhere, but in the end, the girl won the battle.  But this time, she was wounded.  Her foot never fully recovered, and she walked askew.

Given her war wounds throughout life, her warriors were not surprised that she had some difficulty from nerve damages they had not initially killed off.  Despite their valiant efforts, her warriors were not able to repair those nerves.  She faced many years with bladder control challenges, constantly afraid if she were not next to a restroom, she would lose control.  Such a mentality kept her close to home.

Her brother, whom she loved unconditionally and wanted around endlessly, did not feel the same about her.  He loved his sister, but he kept it quiet.  He did not understand her perspective.  After all, he had never faced difficulties.  Though he never told anyone, he was embarrassed to have her for a sister.  All he asked was, “Why can’t she be normal?  Everyone asks me what happened to her.  I am tired of standing up for her and making excuses.”  His feelings darkened him, made him bitter.

After a time, she stepped forth from her fears and let her anger work for her.  She faced the darkness and said, “You cannot stop me from living.  If I lose control, then I lose control.”  And she went to public school.  The children did not understand her at first.  After all, she was already a Colonel in the War of Life, and they were only fresh recruits entering Basic Training.  Just like her brother.  But soon her strong personality and inner light shone forth, and the girl won that battle, too.

In later years, she still faced her physical difficulties, but she had grown so familiar with them, that by the time she was an adolescent, those challenges held little power over her.  She had faced her fears at a wildly early age, and now she held close her ailments.  They no longer inhibited her, for she had determined not to let them.  Of course, with adolescence comes the desire for a relationship, and she was not to escape that desire.  But unlike many others she had met in the War who also had challenges, she did not consider her ailments to be reasons for a worthy suitor to dismiss her.  After all, it was her spirit that mattered.  And for those whose paths she crossed in the War, they knew the healing that came with her presence.  Throughout her life, she followed a different voice, a voice that told her things about people, a voice that urged her to hug a stranger because that stranger needed just that, a voice that kept her from judgements because those who faultered needed her smile.  She never failed to hear that voice and obey.

That was her secret power.

The darkness knew she was born with that power, and its plans reddened and burned hotter.  It craved to stop her widening scope of light.

When the girl was eighteen years old and her brother had long since been at university, she rejoiced.  She called her brother, excited, and exclaimed, “I am now an adult!”  He managed a “Yep.  Cool.” and ended the conversation with an excuse about meeting friends.  She chirped out, “I love you, buddy.  Call me soon.”  He merely said, “Bye,” and hung up.  He did not hate her, but he had felt the only way to handle his bitterness was to distance himself from his family.  He knew though that that was no excuse.

Though many considered the girl a four-star General in the War by the time she reached legal adulthood, she still had the unblemished perspective of someone who had not yet seen sadness.  Her parents beamed, and embraced her, and in the wake of her birthday, they rented the place next door for her.  This way she could be near home and yet have her independence.  She wished for both, and she received them.  The family did not understand why the brother barely managed a phone call to be a part of her new victory, so they focused on her happiness.

She also had long before wished for a good-hearted suitor, and she received one of those, too.

She and the suitor enjoyed each other’s company, and talked often.  They would saunter along paths through the town, her ancient fears of nearby restrooms only memories.  And they sauntered both to enjoy each other’s company as long as they could that day, and because he understood her needs, for she still had the battle scars from when she was three.

Her life made her happy.

She turned nineteen, and wished her brother would have visited her from university, but he made an excuse about studies.  She explained that university was a short four-hour drive away, but her logic seemed lost on him.  Instead of choosing anger, her immediate reaction was to say, “Well, get home when you can.  I haven’t seen you in a while, and I miss you, buddy.  Spring Break maybe?”  He only muttered, “Yeah, we’ll see.  I might have to stay and study.”  Really, his family embarrassed him still.  He always wanted a picture-perfect family like his friends had throughout his life.  He didn’t understand why the light forces did not grant him that same grace.  If he kept distant, he could achieve his independence and create that perfect life.  Then he could slowly re-integrate his family in a controlled manner.

He knew he was a fool.

That summer, the girl went to battle again.  She contracted a violent blood infection of unknown origin.  The dark forces labored hard in their efforts.  Her warriors swooped in and whisked her away to their care where she remained under medical attention for a fortnight.  Her vigilant parents pleaded with the light forces, and called her brother to join their plea.  At long last, she won that battle.

Promoted to the highest ranks of the military, the girl was a five-star General in the War of Life.  She had graced the world in which she inhabited, brought such light to the fallen, and stood as a beacon of what it meant to be righteous, courageous. Excited and grateful, she called her brother from the hospital, and told him about her victory.  He half-listened, having felt he heard it all already from their parents.  She would be fine; he was unconcerned.  She asked again when he would visit.  He repeated the same excuses.  She did not know why he needed to take summer school since he was a very smart student.  Or maybe she had understood that he was looking for ways to not be home.  Either way, she never stopped smiling.  As they finished their conversation, she added, “I love you, buddy.”  He only grunted back, “Bye.”

The dark forces struck.  They subverted one of her warriors with promised of money from larger operations, money guaranteed by insurances.  The warrior was won over.  Even though she had fully recovered from the infection, certified by other warriors as nearly home-bound, this warrior slipped into the fray.  With a legal trick or two, he snatched her away to a distant facility.  There, he did the unthinkable.

He betrayed the girl to the dark forces.  Saw in hand, he cut her open under the guise of open-heart surgery.

The girl died on June 13, 1998.

I have never forgotten my sister.  Rena Michele Lawrence was the perfect woman, the perfect person, the example for many as to how we should face the dark forces of this world.  She was a warrior, a confident, a friend.  I was a coward and a weakling, and for the rest of my life, I will live with the worst punishment that the light forces could incur upon me.

I will constantly remember that I was the last person she spoke to.

I will constantly believe I should have been taken instead.

I will constantly remember her last words.

I am sorry, Sis.  I am so sorry.

© Copyright 2009 Matt Lawrence

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~ by Matt Lawrence on November 9, 2009.

8 Responses to “In Memoriam”

  1. I can’t begin to describe how beautiful and inspiring the retelling of your sister’s life is to me. I have always wanted to ask you to tell me all about her however I felt no time was ever right. I know the start of November hasn’t been easy for through the years. I just wish there was something more I could do to help you aside from an e-hug and encouragement. I love you and am here for you.

  2. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must have been to put your thoughts in writing. I pray that God will comfort you on every side.

  3. That was beautiful. You should forgive yourself. Your sister obviously had.

  4. Matthew, having known you these many years, I feel even closer to you now, knowing what was going on all that time. Thank you for sharing. I pray this helps you forgive yourself and live in even more light than you do now. Your sister sounds wonderful, and I believe you will see her again!

  5. Thanks for sharing … wonder if can send a private msg on this?

  6. Thank you for sharing, I know it must have been difficult.. but now I understand more. You should forgive yourself, your wonderful sister would want you to. It’s not your fault… Your sister seemed like an amazing person, a person that we should all take a little from, even you.

  7. Brother im shocked , i didnt know what u are “caring” with you everyday.It really touched me a lot your life story.Im happy that i work with you .U give a lesson with this to many people,its right ,we dont appreciate what we have until we lose it…

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