This June has been the cruelest month. I’m happy to say adios even though it means 2012 is now more than halfway done.

In June, I found out my big sister had pancreatic cancer. Eleven days later, she was gone. The official cause will probably be kidney failure. After her first round of chemo sent her to the ICU, she found out chemo probably wouldn’t work anyway, and so she ordered a stop to everything. My sister faced her death the same way she lived her life.

The niece with the butterflies we released on a mountain in Carmel. Her “girls” from work set up this memorial.

Things I’ve learned from my big sister: the importance of a smile, the importance of kindness and understanding, and the importance of leaving self-consciousness behind. I never knew how she did it. I always took things much too personal and was much too sensitive for my own good.

But I’ve also learned the importance of not working too much and taking the time out to take care of yourself. In May, we didn’t even see her at all. She worked every single day because her job needed her though she wasn’t feeling well and she wasn’t sounding well. This entire year we haven’t really seen her. We used to get together a lot of the time on Sundays for family dinners, but we haven’t done that all year

There have been bits of inspiration along the way. It’s just that right now I’m still feeling largely uninspired. So I’m just going to continue doing what I need to do. I’ll probably be slightly silent for a little while longer.