The Mountain Times

°F Mon, April 21, 2014

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Rememberance: Serendipity, Sox in the Series

In Remeberance -Sox In The Series Ejsox - Photo Submitted
It was the Sox in the World Series that brought me and my big sister EJ Willis together again one last time.
EJ was diagnosed in May with metastasized breast cancer and was told she needed to begin radiation and chemo treatments immediately. When I heard the news, I wanted to make travel arrangements from my home in the Gold Country foothills of California to EJ's home in Killington to keep her company. But EJ said no, she wanted to wait until she finished the first round of chemo to see how she was feeling.
As Spring turned to Summer and Summer blazed into Fall, EJ continued her cancer treatments and I continued to tell her I wanted to come for a visit. With each round of chemo, she wanted to wait to see if she was making improvements before she had company. I wanted to respect her wishes and not intrude on her family, but was frustrated that there was nothing I could do for her on the other side of the country. In talking to her husband Ron, I learned that the chemo wasn't having much effect on the cancer and the prognosis wasn't good.
In October, my husband Mike and I cheered on the Red Sox as they marched their way towards the World Series. Right after they won the ALCS to secure their Series berth, our phone rang. It was EJ calling from Vermont, which surprised me as it was after midnight on the East Coast. We cheered the Sox going to the Series and shared a good laugh over the opposing player who went head-over-heels on the Green Monster trying to catch a home-run ball.
I decided then that I was going to pay my sister a visit so we can watch the Sox in the Series together. I was expecting her to demur once again, but this time she was excited about the prospect of me coming to visit, although she said she might not be a very good 'host'. I indicated that it didn't much matter as I wanted to see her and we'd work it out.
Because of the side effects of her treatments, EJ was having dizzy spells and could no longer drive. So for the 10 days I was in Vermont, I became her chauffeur. Besides doctor's appointments and trips to the pharmacy, we had girl time to go shopping, out to lunch and get a pedicure. After our daily rounds, EJ would take a nap, and then we'd wake her in time for supper and to watch the first few innings of the game. She'd tire quickly and go to bed early to cuddle with her two kitties Bella and Akiki. But when she'd hear us hollering from the living room, she'd want to know what was happening. So Ron or I would give her a play-by-play…Big Papi just hit a 3-run homer!…Sox got called for interference at 3rd…runner got awarded home…Sox lost…and got robbed!  She'd thank us for the update and cuddle up with her kitties again.
On the last Sunday in October, we got a double Boston bonus as we watched the Patriots win their game in the afternoon and the Red Sox win another World Series game in the evening. EJ donned her Patriots shirt and I donned my Red Sox World Series shirt and we took some fun sister pictures as life-long Boston sports fans.
When the Sox won the Series, Ron and I were cheering in the living room. We turned around and saw EJ standing in the hallway with a big grin on her face.
"I presume with all the noise that we won," she said. We all hugged and did a little victory dance. We stayed up way beyond midnight to watch the champagne celebration on the field and in the Red Sox Club House.  We had a good laugh at Big Papi on the field wearing ski goggles to protect himself from the bubbly.
On Saturday, we watched the players and their families ride the Duck Boats through Boston and its waterways waving at the crowd along the victory parade route. Then it was time for me to leave for the airport.  EJ and I both knew it was the last time we would see each other as we hugged good-bye, but there were no tears as each was trying to be strong for the other. 
On Thanksgiving weekend, EJ went into the hospital for the last time. She lost her battle with cancer on Dec. 9 with her family by her side. She left behind her husband, two daughters and her two beloved kitties.
Life doesn't give you second chances. Sometimes it's serendipity such as the Red Sox going to the World Series that prompts action to bring long-distance sisters together in this lifetime and beyond. May you rest in peace, my dear sister and friend.