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Grapevine : September 2011
My two sisters died in 2009, both sober, with- in three weeks of each other. Cancer took one, and a progressive heart disease the other. I miss them very much. When life hands you a lemon, you make lemonade. Well, the brew that stirs around in my head is both sweet and sour. Some days, I am angry at God for taking them. Other days, I know our Higher Power did not cause the can- cer or heart disease. Even now, two years later, I tear up with thoughts of them and I count them as two of the many blessings in my life. Betty, the young- est of our three sis- ters, was the first to recognize her disease and do something about it. She entered a treatment program and became very ac- tive in her town. She helped found an Al- Anon Club, where meetings are still held on a regular basis. She was the first person I called when I knew I had to enter a pro- gram. "Guess what?" I remember say- ing. She knew immediately what I was talking about. We laughed about this later, once I learned most alcoholics think they are hiding the disease, only to learn, as I did, that people, especially family members, are very aware of what is going on. I have followed Betty's good example for 26 years. Our other sister, Marie, was the last of us to recognize her problem and, at the urging of her children, go into treatment. She often said, "I thought I was doing this for my chil- dren only to learn I was doing it for myself." Betty's death was expected, but Marie's passing was a shocking sur- prise. After her funeral, a friend in my AA group commented that, after losing both sisters so close together, at least I didn't drink. I replied that I would not dare to drink, for my sis- ters would be furious with me if I as- suaged my grief by returning to the bottle we had all sworn off. I'm left with a legacy of honesty and a love for others. I rise above the sorrow by doing my best to remem- ber the birthdays of their children and grandchildren. Occasionally, I'll talk about them at my home group, emphasizing their productive and satisfying lives after sobriety. I am proud of the example my sober sis- ters set, but I still miss them. Anne C. Plymouth, Minn. ILLUSTRATION BY DAWN B. aagrapevine.org 15