Today my sister should be turning 35, instead she will eternally be 22.
I am tired of thinking about all the things she missed out in life, all the little moments she didn’t get to experience, it makes me sad, it makes me want to change something that I just cannot.
So today, instead, I am going to focus on all the moments in life she DID enjoy, and the moments that made her the special woman that she was, and always will be in my heart.
Here are some of the memories I have of my beautiful sister.
* My sister was without a doubt my best friend, someone I could talk to for hours, ask whatever question I wanted, and guard my secrets with. We had so much fun together, and created so many personal jokes, that everyone else just did not understand.
Tamina and I as kids
* Tamina had a huge scar on her left leg, running from just above her knee, all the way down to her ankle, this was a result of surgery to remove a tumour from her leg. She got sick of explaining this procedure to people, so she started making up weird and wonderful stories, including that the scar was the result of a shark attack, falling out of a boat in crocodile infested waters in Africa, and many others.
*We had almost the exact same voice on the phone, so we would often prank each others friends, we had some funny moments doing this, including a time a guy rang to ask her out on a date and was talking to me, he thought I was Tamina, so at the end of his nervous speech, I had to say “I don’t know, I will have to ask her for you”, much to the poor guys embarrassment.
Tamina with her dog Kokereka, whom she got as an end of treatment present after her first battle with cancer
*I viewed Tamina as some sort of superhero, she showed so much bravery throughout the painful treatments she had to undergo for cancer, she never got upset when people stared at her bald head, and even though she vomited a million and one times, got jabbed by too many needles and had countless operations, I never once heard her say “why me?”
* Tamina was a young Mum, who looked even younger than the 19 years she was when she had her daughter Jazmine, once again she had to deal with judgemental people and their comments, but never once did I see it get to her. She loved her daughter so much, and was a wonderful Mummy.
* I admired Tamina’s adventurous and fearless nature, whereas I was always the one who was scared to try new things as a child, rather than tease me for this, she would support and encourage me to try new things, together we conquered many brave feats and adventures in our backyard.
*Despite being sick and weak, Tamina insisted on taking me clubbing once I turned 18. She was bald, and wore a lovely realistic wig out that night, half way through the night the itch of the wig on her head was unbearable, so, in the middle of the night club she took it off and threw it on the dance floor. A few nearby people almost spat their drinks out in surprise! The looks on everyone faces was hilarious!
Tamina Michelle Burns 20.12.76 - 07.04.99
18 years was not nearly enough time to share with my beautiful sister, it feels like she was only given a drop in an ocean of life.
I feel blessed to have been able to spend anytime with Tamina, to have laughed with her, grown with her, and been inspired by all she gave to this world.
I really wish that you were here to celebrate your 35th birthday big sis, to blow out the candles on your cake, and to watch your daughter grow, to meet your niece, nephew and brother-in-law. I wish you were here so I could sit and talk to you for hours, to give you a giant big hug, and to tell you exactly how much you have meant to me.
You are here, in spirit, the wonder and joy you showed me, the spark you left in my life just by being a part of it, lives on.
Today I raise my glass to you Tamina, to the best sister I could have asked for, and the extra gift of a wonderful friend as well.
Happy Birthday big sis, wherever you are.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen of even touched, but must be felt with the heart
– Helen Keller