Farewell and Peace, My Sister

6 years ago

Dani Dittman Bower crossed over on January 11, 2011 from Luekemia.  She was just 46 years old and my youngest sister. 

A year has passed since the death of my baby sister.  I have read that she was a loving and caring mother. A distant relative was gracious enough to inform of her terminal illness just seven hours before her death.  The pain and sorrow in my heart burst forth in a way that I wll never be able to put into words.  She was just 46 years old and left behind a young son.  I don't know him and probably never will in this lifetime but none the less, my thoughts and prayers go out to him every single day.  Sometimes, it is just too much and to this day I ponder on the loss of my baby sister.

Did her dreams come true?  Was she able to hold her 6 year old son in arms one last time.  Was her husband lovingly holding her hand and by her side as she crossed over?  Did she leave this world to the next in peace?  This is my letter to my dear sister....

Dear Dani,

I miss you and have for the last 14 years.  I miss your laugh and your sense of humor.  Most of all, I have missed your company.  It seems strange to me that something called religion and in the name of Jehovah God can cause such a division between family members.  Know this, my dear one, that it doesn't matter...  I love you then, I love you now and I love for always because I believe the conscious lives on despite all of the religious propaganda and limiting belief systems.  You chose your path and I know that you remained strong and stood in your truth through the very end.  I am proud of you.

I was 16 when you were born and quite disgusted that Mother was having another baby.  How quickly that changed when I held your warm little body in my arms.  So sweet and tiny with your little round face.  You held your hands together as if you were grasping on to something unseen.  I'll never forget your first smile.  Or, the first time I trotted off to the hospital so that you could have your head stitched.  You were so frightened in the emergency room with all the bright lights.  You little hand in mine and your big brown eyes filled with tears.  You were so brave and courageous.  I remember Dr. Bunge asking for permission to give you a tetanus shot and how difficult it was for me to say yes. 

I remember your first day of school and the very day you graduated.  You were so excited for your future.  So many plans and goals.  We had so much fun, you, Robin and I.  We were the lucky ones, riding through life as not only sisters but dear friends.  I'll never forget when Meghan was living her teen-age life to the fullest.  You and I sat outside her girlfriend's apartment all night waiting for her to show up.  We laughed so hard we cried.  We were there together when Dad died and we cried again. 

You are now gone but not forgotten.  You are in a different place and learning new ways.  Think of me now and again.  I will see you again one day.  A different dimension, a different place and again we will laugh and cry.  For today is just today and there is always a tomorrow.  Until then, you are missed.  My love to you, dear one.  Farewell and Peace, my sister.

~Susie

Susan Banner Todd

Thousands of members of Jehovah's Witnesses are disfellowshipped or expelled from the Organization every year.  Many more, such as myself, step away because they do not embrace their religious beliefs.  Sadly, there is a very a high cost as they are cut off from their families of origin.   I have not been in contact with my oldest daughter, sisters or mother in over 20 years.  Sad as it is, I have come to realize that we all have what we call 'truth'.  Sometimes, for some, it is clothed in darkness and has held some in their own prison.

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