February has been a very long month.

My first ride which wasn’t to my sister’s bedside; my heart is in my throat most of the time now, lungs burn like when I used to smoke, legs like twine tied to anvils.

When I told her how she motivates me on my rides, she cried. You fought so hard for so long and I tried my best to understand, sis, I really did, even though you just saw it as living.

If you see me climbing a hill on a bike, you’ll know who I’m thinking of.


Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I’m tired and I
I want to go to bed

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don’t try to wake me in the morning
‘Cause I will be gone
Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go

The vinyl bottoms of footie pajamas still make noise even when tiptoeing across driveways. Hers were pink and mine were blue. We carried between us a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, two white-blond moptop kids of ages four and three and a breakfast picnic.

The spring morning was warm and we could smell the arboretum in bloom a few blocks away; ah, Chicago suburbs in the late-60s. We were kids and had not a care in the world.

Settling in front of the garage, legs sticking straight out and squinting our eyes in morning sun, we gently tore the crust off to get to the yummy center of each slice.

I don’t remember us saying anything to one another, but I know we were happy. Our parents were not happy to find our beds empty on a Saturday morning and the two of us not parked in front of TV watching cartoons.

Yesterday morning I lost my sister at the age of 51. I spent her last night with her and relived this moment. We both have very acute memories of our early years, even back that far. She battled juvenile-onset Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy for her entire adult life and had no choice but to wage that battle each day. She fuels my bike rides because my suffering is a choice and it was…it was one way I could show her how much I care and understand despite not sharing the chromosome repeat like she and our father and his mother and her father (from what I can tell).

My sister’s heart was as pure as they come, shiny like chrome, strong as Wolfram; she is no longer suffering and this brings tears to my eyes and will for the foreseeable future.