My sister is looking down… and laughing her ass off.


Somewhere in… uh… heaven? Or wherever we go… (unless we don’t go anywhere)… my sister is laughing at me.
I always gave her ample opportunity to laugh at me (although more often than not I just bugged the crap out of her) and here’s today’s mockery opportunity:

I’ve been feeling very low for some time — first there was Mother’s Day, which is also Lilac Sunday at the Arboretum, one of Stacey’s favorite events. Then Stacey’s birthday, and the anniversary of her death last year.

Now, if you know me well, you know that I’m wired a little differently from the average gal. This means, as I tell my children, “I am a woman of many talents!” This is generally followed by, “but that ain’t one of ’em” (usually something galactically pointless like vacuuming or laundry.) One thing that seems to be a default setting for many people is the connection between events and dates, anything from birthdays to a family outing that apparently I should KNOW is tomorrow just because Chris told me about it? Five times? My beloved iPhone has made it easier, but the connection between events and dates is still one I have to build, laboriously, by hand.

Which means that I knew the anniversary was “coming up” but somehow I had it in my head that it was the 10th.

Yeah… no. It was yesterday.

SO whether this was the universe’s way of taking the pressure off a bit, or just “I gotta be me! Apparently!” I’m sure it is very very funny to my sister. Ha. Ha ha ha. 

Would she be offended? I really doubt it. We generally threw a “Oh, yeah, happy birthday” back or forth every six months, then at some point spent an equal amount of money on ourselves at Russell’s.

“Hey, you gave me my birthday present yesterday.” 
“Yeah? What did I get you?” 
“Two new peonies and some manure.” 
“Wow. I’m awesome.” 

And although Stacey was far more sentimental than many people knew, she was all too practical when it came to her illness. When she lost her hair the first time, I asked if it would help in any way if I shaved my head. She gave me her patented “what the hell is wrong with you?” look and said, “God, no! I don’t want to be bald, why should you have to be bald too?!” (I was really glad she said that because I would have done it… but it would have sucked, gotta be honest.) 

When Stacey was in the hospital, at the point when we knew she wouldn’t be going home, I told her I would get a tattoo of a daisy on my toe (we sang that song together when we were kids, “I’ve got a daisy on my toe, it is not real, it does not grow. it’s just a tattoo of a flower; makes me look cute taking a shower…”) 

As sick as she was, she still had the energy to give me The Look: “That’s not gonna help!” 

(I might do it someday anyway, don’t tell!) 

So I really don’t think she’d be crushed that I got the days and events all Bingo-balled in my head. Again.

What would I have done if I’d had the days straight? I have no idea. But I would have re-posted the little eulogy I wrote her last year, just like I re-post Christmas Among the Uptight Yankees every year. So here goes: 

My sister, Stacey Anne Bancroft Neustadt, was murdered by breast cancer at 6:10 pm on June 2, 2012. She fought for six years, not for a cure, but to live long enough that her daughter would remember her. Aside from her treatment time, Stacey gave cancer not one more inch of her life: she worked, took care of her children, grew vegetables, read every female-protagonist mystery novel ever written, and obsessed over the Tour de France. She had zero patience for ignorance or laziness. She loved lilacs and birthday-cake frosting. 

Stacey was like a pinata: she was hard to get open, but there was candy inside.


2 Responses to “My sister is looking down… and laughing her ass off.”

  1. 1 Sandy Blinman

    Cancer took my brother too. Anyone over 50 reading this–if you haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, please make an appointment today.

  2. 2 lara

    i too lost my sister to breast cancer. and now i have it. be sure you keep up on your mammograms. breast cancer stalks us like nightmares that won’t go away.

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