Updated: Apr 19, 2020
"All big sisters do this to their little sister, it won't hurt, just don't tell Mom and Dad, if you do we won't be Sisters anymore, because you told the secret, ok?"
My eyes popped open, I lay there, breathing heavy, nauseous from the dream I'd just had…I had been having the same reoccurring dream at least once a month. The thing is, it wasn't just a dream, it was reality, my reality. A reality that happened years ago, I never spoke of it. The love I had for my sister would never allow me to ask her why. I didn't want to know why. I'd rather keep that secret than to damage someone who was close to breaking anyway.
I sat on the side of the bed at a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. There lay a fragile, skinny, silhouette...not like anything that I'd ever seen before. Blood had dried in the beds of her fingernails, her skin ashy with a hue of yellow from joundis. Her hair in several thick filthy corn rows, the IVs in her arms looked as if they would come out at any moment.
This is what had become of my older sister Shana, I was not use to this person. Once a beautiful brown skinned girl, with a perfect smile and a quiet confidence, lay here in a hospital bed, where the nurses were scared to touch her because she had AIDS.
Both my mom and oldest sister being nurses took care of my sister that day in the hospital, washing her hair, cleaning her up, even changing her IV. I just sat there and watched, taking it all in. Shana said once they released her from the hospital, she wanted to come home where we could care for her and spend lots of time with her. Everyone agreed that, that was the best thing for her.
My Mom and sister Treva went to talk to Shana's nurse; there I was alone with my sister. I walked up to the side of her bed, she looked so tired. I held her hand and we began talking about memories we had growing up, how she taught me how to fight, how she took the time to do my hair, how we hated Domino (a childhood dog) because he had bitten both of us. She told me how much she loved me, how proud of me she was, how I had turned out to be perfect in her eyes. It was at the side of her bed that I asked my Sister to except the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart, I prayed the prayer of salvation with her and shared with her how much the Lord loved her with an everlasting love, so much so that He died for her just so she could have an opportunity to live again.
This was indeed a FULL CIRCLE moment.
My mom and my sister came back into the room, Shana soon dozed off. We headed back to Maryland; we weren't back 24 hours when the hospital called for us to come back, something was wrong.
It was a three hour drive back to Norfolk General Hospital. When we arrived, the doctors spoke with my mom, I saw the look on her face and I knew it was bad. They took us to her room, there she lay, a ventilator breathing for her, her eyes closed...there was no talking this time, no plans being made, no reminiscing. I just stood there, confused on what was happening or what would happen next. I wanted to pick her up and hug her and tell her it was ok, that everything would be ok, that she'd be home soon.
Within the next hour she was gone, they turned the machines off, her chest went up and then down and that was it… she was gone. I was devastated; I had so many hopes and dreams for my sister. I wasn’t just sad because she was gone but I was sad because of the life she lived. She never really “lived” she only survived. She moved through life only surviving and not experiencing the freedom of living. Life has a funny way of breaking what does not bend. That day my sister’s struggle was over, her pain was over; her fight to survive was over.
It was just a couple of days before she died that I had the opportunity to pray with my sister. It was a FULL CIRCLE moment for me. Here I was, praying the prayer of salvation with my sister who had years ago molested me. It was proof that God had truly done a work in my life, this is not a story of incest, this is a story of love, forgiveness, grace and healing.
We have all had a full circle moment. Jesus died on the cross for our sins on Calvary…Isaiah 53:5 says But he was wounded for our transgressions, he wasbruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Here is a man that came from sitting on the right hand of His Father in the Heavenlies to be beaten, chastised and crucified on our behalf and through sin, all of us have been guilty of turning our back on Him and the sacrifice He made for us…but the Full Circle moment is that He does not give up on us, He welcomes us back with open arms, He does not ask us for an explanation of why but He continues to extend grace and love towards us…He allows us to come Full Circle again and again and for that I am grateful.
Jesus offers us a full circle moment over and over again daily, let us extend that same love to our brothers and sisters. There is great freedom and power in forgiveness.
For if you forgive their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
My sister was infected with HIV from a long term, committed relationship and felt like there was no need to get tested but these are the facts:
~ More than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S.
~One in five living with HIV is unaware of their infection.
~Every 9 ½ minutes someone in the US is infected with AIDS (www.aids.gov).
If you are sexually active or have been sexually active, go get tested…there are no words to describe what it feels like to watch your love one die a senseless death that could have been prevented via abstinence, or testing.
Each year there about 213,000 victims of sexual assault. Two-thirds of those victims are assaulted by a family member or a sibling. If you have been a victim of incest do not continue to live in a prison of shame, guilt or embarrassment. Talk to someone, reach out for help, confide in a friend, talk to your Pastor or even a counselor. Don’t allow yourself to be bound by that secret.
Join me on this Full Circle journey of healing, joy, love and forgiveness.