“It’s only me…how’re you doing?” Was our standard greeting. No need for “Hello” “Hi” or introductions, it becomes that way when habitual familiarity takes precedence. It’s how it is with all of us. Well, sisters anyway. There are five of us (and two brothers) Wendy, Susan, Jane, Ruth and I. Listed in order of age (and madness!) Or, I should say, there were five of us until 21st September 2016.
Winifred Jane Sullivan was our wonderful sister and party animal that God had seemingly so cruelly for us decided he needed more than any of us here did.
Jane called me on Monday 12th September. She was alone, her son had just popped out to collect something, and the doctor had just left her. “Well, I’ve got between a couple of days and a couple of weeks…it’s shit” She said, very matter of factly. I was dumbstruck, but the tears that rolled down my cheeks spoke what my tongue wouldn’t allow. It was the call I’d been dreading. The reality she had been fearing.
Despite life having dealt her a pretty shit hand of cards, she never failed to make the best of what she had, loving her family, grandchildren, music, a good party, her friends…and food! One of the great sadnesses for me was that during her last illness, she was so sick, that she had no appetite. For someone who enjoyed fine food and would’ve killed for lobster or langoustines, this was the ultimate travesty.
We used to call each other every couple of days or so. Sometimes it could be longer depending where we were, if we’d had a disagreement or just that life got in the way, but usually on a weekend, no matter what, we’d catch up. Put the world to rights, discuss how terrible the weeks television had been “did you see Gogglebox?” Or bitch about The Real Housewives of ….. But I always knew what subjects to stay clear of! She had very strong opinions on some things, and her take on life was frequently contentious and hilarious in equal measure!
I’ve attempted to pick the phone up three or four times now. Then I remember…
Winifred Jane Sullivan wasn’t just my sister, she was my best friend, my mentor, someone I looked up to, someone I respected and my sparring partner on occasion! She was a mother to me when our mother couldn’t be. She taught me a lot about life…and now death.
Most of all she taught me to be AMAZING, be yourself, stay positive, fight and NEVER give up.
And always love a bit of ‘bling’ 🙂