For those of you who have known me for a while, you may remember that I'm the baby sister of five sisters, if one can call a 77-year-old a baby. On Sunday night at 7:45 p.m. my dear sister Virginia Annette Streur Estrada, passed away quietly in Las Vegas after bravely fighting Parkinsons Disease for several years. Her daughter Rose was there with her holding her hand when she unexpectedly took her last breath. My nephew called about 45 minutes later and even though she's been in hospice the last eight months at Tender Loving Care, a phenomenal skilled nursing center, you are never ready for that call. Now there are only two sisters left.
I had gone to Las Vegas for a weekend in July to help celebrate Virginia's 87th birthday and she was conscious then, although very frail. I will hold these last memories of her in my heart, but the really happy memories are bubbling up and I've been free-writing in my journal. It's those I want to remember. Virginia was 11 when I was born and in our little house in Inglewood, CA, she and I shared a bed until we moved to Sunland in 1943. She married young and she and my brother-in-law Salvador had three sons and a daughter and I grew up being more like an older sibling to her kids--and she a kind of surrogate mom to me. I spent a lot of time with them in Lennox and later in Reseda. I lived with them the last year before I married in 1958.
My sister Donna died in 1998, also of Parkinsons complications, and my eldest sister June died in 2002 of cancer. My sister Betty and I (she is 90) are the two sisters left. Childlike as I am, I pictured my parents and sisters and Virginia's husband Sal waiting at the end of the tunnel you hear about in death experiences.
Yesterday, at a monthly SoulCollage® group, I made this community suit card in honor of Virginia.
I am the one who is very sad and dualistically relieved that my youngest sister to me died quietly on Sunday night. My nephews and niece are now in the process of finalizing funeral plans in Las Vegas, probably mid-next week. We are all relieved to avoid the Labor Day zoo that Las Vegas will be this weekend. My sis totally made her final plans before she became too ill to do so and that's a reminder that that is the one thing I haven't done in my own will and trust. I am the one who my sis loved unconditionally and though she had personality issues with many other people, it was rare for us to clash. I am the one who was able to do a short oral history with her when we traveled together with our late sister June in the late 1990s--and I look forward to finding that file and gathering photos and memories. I am the one who wanted to surround Virginia with flowers; Sal was the avid gardener, but my sister enjoyed them--and even had iris bulbs in her yard from our mom's originals. She was named, by the way, after Virginia Park, Michigan where my parents lived with my four sisters before they moved to California in the early 1930s.