The summer my sister died was the most challenging time of my life.
I graduated nursing school at UNC Charlotte in May, planning to leave on a cruise with my older brother, his fiancee, and my little sister Eryn Rose Shaw — known as Rosie — in June. I had never been on a cruise. Rosie and I were so close, that I chose her to take with me.
Shortly before we were set to leave, my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was only 15 years old. She had been experiencing some headaches and random vomiting, so our family doctor ordered an MRI to be on the safe side. My dad took her to the MRI while my mom and other siblings were at an elementary school event for my little sister and brother. While there, we got a call that we needed to meet my dad and sister at the doctor’s office. Something was wrong with the MRI.
After finding out Rosie had a brain tumor, they quickly set up a biopsy and discovered it was our worst nightmare. Glioblastoma. Uncurable. A death sentence. Rosie’s tumor was large and on both sides of the brain. It had spread out and there was no way to remove it. Treatment would buy her a few months at best.
After the biopsy, Rosie began having seizures. The biopsy had bothered the tumor. She began sleeping all the time when she wasn’t seizing. She was put in the hospital, and never got to leave again. She passed away the same day we were meant to leave on our cruise, only 10 days after her diagnosis.
My world was shattered. My sister, my best friend, Rosie was gone. As I reflect on that terrible day, June 15, 2018, I know that I’ve learned to accept my grief as a part of my life now. I will keep on living, smiling, and making memories, but I will never forget. I will never overcome it.
Rosie was a perfect version of herself. She didn’t get enough time, and there’s nothing I can say to make that better. She did make the most of her life while she was here though and left us all with 15 years of beautiful memories. She spread love during her short time, and to me that’s a life that was fully lived. I miss her, but one day I will see her again. Although I wish she was here with me, I know that she is in a wonderful place where there are no brain tumors and tears. One day I will see her again, and until then I will treasure those memories and hold them close in my heart.