June 30 marks the 5th anniversary of my younger sister, Melissa’s, death from metastasized breast cancer. Almost as soon as June begins I think of her constantly. And in these past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on what she taught me, particularly about courage.
It’s one of life’s ironies that Melissa and I looked so much alike but in many ways couldn’t have been more different.
As a child, I was self-deprecating and acted as the family peacemaker while Melissa was the rebel, the one who was so clearly out of the box. A born risk-taker, she was always more daring than I was.
I remember the first time we went skiing. I was about nine.
My Dad had successfully maneuvered us up the chairlift and onto the bunny slope. He was busy adjusting my binding when he looked up, glanced around and then turned to me. “Where’s your sister?”
She was already down the hill!
And she kept living like that.
At 18, she went skydiving, at 20 biked alone across the Netherlands and France and at 22 moved to Cairo. She was her own person and was a great teacher for me about living courageously.