17: Twin Pop

17: Twin Pop

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven

Twin Pop

A sister is God’s way of proving He doesn’t want us to walk alone.

~Author Unknown

My twin sister Sue and I loved the first days of spring. As children we looked forward to those warm afternoons when we could shed our coats at recess and look forward to playing outside when school was over.

We could not wait to leap off the school bus, grab a basketball, bike or tennis racket and head outside to play. Sometimes we played at the park. Other times we grabbed some of our allowance and walked to the 7-Eleven for a cola Slurpee.

With the days getting longer, we finished dinner and homework as quickly as possible, then ran outside to play kickball or hide and go seek. We tried to squeeze in as much playtime as possible before dark.

Our time together was precious. As twin sisters we had a special bond. We even had a special nickname for one another: Twin Pop!

As adults we continued to enjoy the beginning of spring. Sometimes Sue called me on the phone and happily exclaimed, “Hey Twin Pop, did you know it’s going up to seventy degrees today? Let’s meet for coffee.”

“That sounds great!”

Quite often we picked up coffees and met at our local park just to sit on a bench, chat for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather while the kids were in school.

Other times we got our kids together. Sue and I would trail behind them as they rode their Big Wheels and tricycles in one of our driveways. As they got older we watched while they took off down the street on their big bikes. We smiled at each other, remembering our own childhood and those first days of spring.

But on the first days of spring in 2003 everything suddenly changed. Sue called me one evening. “Hi Donna, do you want to get together for coffee in the morning?”

“Sure, I have a Bible study until ten. Let’s meet afterwards.”

The next morning my kids and I were leaving for the bus stop when the phone rang. My third grader Caroline answered it. By her voice and smile I knew who she was talking to. “It’s Aunt Sue!” she said with joy, handing me the phone.

“Hi Donna, do you mind if I cancel coffee this morning? I have a headache. Can we get together tomorrow or later this week?” I assured her that was fine.

“I hope you feel better.”

“Thanks! See ya later!”

Two hours later when I came home, I found many messages on my machine from loved ones urging me to call them immediately. I reached my friend Terry. She told me that Sue had dropped her son Billy off at school, gone to the local bank, and while she was waiting in the drive-through, had a stroke.

I was stunned and confused. What was she talking about? Sue was forty years old and in perfect health! How could she have a stroke?

I was in shock as my friend drove me to the hospital. When I saw Sue in the emergency room, it hit me hard. I could not process what had happened. It made no sense to me.

My energetic sister who I had just chatted with hours before was lying on a table hooked up to machines and not able to talk to me.

“Hi Sue,” I spoke gently. “Don’t worry. You are going to be okay.” I babbled on about the plans our families had made to go to the shore that coming summer, “You’ll be feeling great in time for our vacation!” I tried desperately to find the right words to give her hope.

A few agonizing hours later I learned Sue’s stroke was massive. Time would tell if she would have a future with us. Close friends and family began to arrive. We sat quietly in the waiting room, frozen in shock.

It had been a long day. Late into the evening there was still no improvement. I prayed for her healing. I prayed for my strength.

We headed home for the night.

The next morning, I received a phone call. Overnight Sue had slipped into a coma. We headed back to the hospital.

The lowest point of the morning was as I watched Sue’s three young children, Stephanie, Kristen and Billy, turn to us and smile, their faces filled with hope, as they walked through the critical care doors with their dad to see their mom. I went in to be with them a few minutes later. As the children stood courageously around their mom, even in a coma, from Sue’s eyes one single tear trickled down her cheek. I wiped it away.

A little after noon my husband Marc took me home to rest a bit. As I tried to drift into sleep, I knew. Sue had just passed.

Moments later Marc came into our bedroom. He gently spoke to me. “Hon, we should go back to the hospital now.” Later I would learn he had received a phone call at the time I received my message that Sue had passed. Neither of us said a word in the car ride over. We both wanted to believe a little longer.

But as we arrived at the hospital ten minutes later and were getting into the elevator, Marc turned to me with a heartbroken look on his face.

“Hon,” he started.

I stopped him and said, “I know.”

I went in to see Sue for the last time. Her oldest, Stephanie, had been sitting by her side for hours just holding her hand. I came up behind Stephanie, leaned over and spoke softly in Sue’s ear. I wanted to reassure her. I tried to be strong.

“Hey Sue,” my voice was shaky. “You know I love you. Please don’t worry about your kids. I love them so much and I will treat them as my own. I will always be there for them.” I felt empty and alone as I was speaking to her. How would I live without my twin sister, my Twin Pop!

My heart broke for her family. I wrapped my arms around Stephanie and hugged her tight. Just then an amazingly warm hug filled with love wrapped around me and Stephanie. I recognized that warmth and love. It was a mother’s love, a sister’s love. It was a beautiful feeling of comfort and peace. Like the warmth of the sun on those first days of spring.

I turned my head but knew no one would be there, at least no one I could see. I believe it was a gift from God, a hug from Sue to remind us that a special bond never dies.

See ya later, Twin Pop.

~Donna Teti

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