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From Our Readers: Meet My Sister, So Young and So Dear

A tribute to my sister Dayanarra Gail who passed away at the age of 19.
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The clock strikes 2 past midnight and everyone in the house is already in deep slumber. I keep on turning my body from side to side, hugging my pillow tight as I try to put myself to sleep. But every time I close my eyes, I can clearly see her image in my mind: Her subtle sweet smile and innocent face. Memories keep haunting me again. Five months have passed since she left. As the days roll by, the level of acceptance increases, but the pain of losing her never decreases. The same pain I felt on that very day when she gasped for her last breath—still fresh, sharp, deep, and striking. I still keep on asking myself the same question, "Of all people, why my sister?" At the age of 19, when dreams are fulfilled, when hopes are there, when passions and desires towards life are big, why did the Universe let this thing happened? We loved her so much that we never ever wanted to lose her despite the fact that we knew she might not reach old age like other people because of her poor health condition since birth. Having a congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. Kids that have the same condition are also known as "blue babies."

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Without minding the time, I laid my back in bed, looked up to the ceiling, and I managed to smile a little as I recalled how she was able to make us (her family) proud. Her remarkable talents in drawing and writing novels never failed to wow us and even others who saw and have read her works could attest to that. She was a wide-reader and knew how to speak some Korean, Japanese, and French. Who would have ever thought that a girl who never had a chance to step into a formal school would have those kinds of skill? Her heart despite being physically weak was full of love and kindness. On her 19th birthday (her last birthday being alive), she wrote in her journal, "My wishes for my birthday are: good health for this year and for the coming years for me and my family, good grades for my siblings who are still studying, and jobs for my other siblings who already graduated and will graduate this year. There, I know it’s simple but I think that’s the most meaningful wish I can wish for." This only proves that she was never selfish. I remembered the days when we fangirled over Taylor Swift (yes, she's a certified Swiftie!), when we would laugh together while watching the Korean variety show Running Man, those silly times when she helped me out doing DIY stuff for my blog, and how she would usually write the list of books and magazines she wanted me to buy for her. Those were just a few among the many sibling-bonding moments I will surely miss and promise to forever keep in my heart.

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As the signs of early dawn appeared on the windows of the room, tears started to fall down my cheeks. A sudden flash back of her struggles during the last 4 months of her life had filled me up. Those 4 months wherein she had fought in the battlefield of pain and suffering, when she became paralyzed and bedridden. Those crucial times when we felt that the very last hope of all hopes had fled. Those touching moments when she used to say, "I love You Lord even though I am sick." That heartbreaking hospital room scenario when we clearly saw in her eyes her strong will to live yet her system was in the verge of giving up.  Then, a very sad realization hit me hard like a slap to my face. Her Twitter bio that reads: "Dreams to meet Taylor Swift in person, to see my works on the runway, and my book to get published" will only remain just dreams of her forever. Without her, things will never be the same for us again. Her loss left us with wounded hearts. I know these wounds would heal through time, but for sure the scar will be there and it will always remind us not just of the pain but also of the beautiful memories of her in our lives. My sister Dayanarra will always be remembered as an epitome of hope and inspiration to all especially to us her family. Her passing left me with words to tell every people I meet, "Love your siblings while you can. You are lucky, you still have them."

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If only the four walls of my room can talk, they could probably say how much I cried that night. I check the time; it’s nearly 4 in the morning. I ease into my bed, say a prayer, and without knowing it, I doze off with my eyes still wet.

Written by Arianne Pearl Magbanua.

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