"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

For My Sister - Rory Lynn Tsenes

"Is solace anywhere more comforting
than in the arms of a sister?"
- Alice Walker

In the midst of the wonderful craziness of preparing for Paris, I stayed up until the wee hours of this morning, preparing a small package of my jewelry for a Paris themed Breast Cancer Fundraiser: "Launch Your Creativity" (30 September, in California). Of course, anything to do with Cancer brings to mind my beloved sister...

Rory, mom and me - circa 1970 (I'm in mom's lap)

One of my earliest girlhood memories is of a huge stuffed Hippopotamous in our living room. My sister and I would ride on that plush Hippo - safari adventures abounded! We were 2 and 3 years old. Years later, in what turned out to be the last year of her life, one day I came into my sister's bedroom and on her bedside table was a tiny plastic Hippo. When I remarked on it Rory replied: "Don't you remember our adventures on our Hippo?" I still have that little plastic bedside Hippo. I've started collecting them (one of them is a tiny hand carved ebony wood that I got at a Paris flea market). A few years ago I picked up this Beanie Babies Hippo (the 1st photo).

Hippopotamous literally means "water horse." This mammoth animal's spiritual power perfectly links water, earth and survival. It's spiritual significance is that it teaches one how to move gracefully through emotions; grounding ourselves so we can face, deal with, and heal from emotional tribulation. I wonder if Rory knew this - maybe on an emotional/visceral level? I believe that the Hippopotamus is one of the many lessons and gifts that my beloved sister left - for me and for me to pass onto my children.

Cancer is a horrible tragic thing. Dealing with this disease not only takes its toll on it's victims, but their loved ones as well. And those of us who deal with the fallout are rendered mute, primarily because all of our physical, mental, and spiritual energy is dedicated to the healing of our loved one(s) - leaving little energy or breath for anything else. But it is a battle worth fighting; a battle that makes us better people; a battle that I believe we will inevitably win.

A few years ago, I saw/heard a gorgeous song "Permenant." Performed by David Cook. It was written by his brother Adam. It's about their experience of Adam's living with brain cancer and trying to console his brother with his truth - his knowledge that he would soon die. In  3 minutes, 4 short paragraphs, it poignantly and lovingly captures this experience. I hear my sister's voice when I listen to this song. Soothing, taking care of me, while I was soothing, taking care of her.  I'm including the music video and lyrics as a sign of solidarity with others in our 'club,' and to encourage you to join the fight. Get involved, donate, let's kick this fucker's ass! Yes we can!

Rory, I miss you so...

In this moment where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my broken promise that you'll never see me cry.
And everything will surely change
Even if I tell you I won't go away today.

Will you think that you're all alone
When no one's there to hold your hand?
When all you know seems so far away
And everything is temporary, rest your head.
I'm permanent.

I know he's living in hell every single day.
And so I ask, oh God is there some way for me to take his place?
And when they say it's all touch and go
I wish that I could make it go away but still you say

Will you think that you're all alone

When no one's there to hold your hand?
When all you know seems so far away
And everything is temporary, rest your head.
I'm permanent. I'm permenant.

Peace & Grace,


Rory Lynn (1970)


  1. From time to time when I look back on life I think about certain people... People that I will never forget. People who had a peaceful caring spirit that gave us hope that we had the opportunity to maje a better world. I remember conversations and events that made me better. I remember Rory.. I remember her peace.

  2. Ken, thank you so for your kind words. Rory's been gone nearly 24 years and we remember, think of, speak of, love her everyday. My husband and I named our 1st born after her, so we get to say her name a thousand times each day. He plays basketball and football like my sister danced - he's 16. Our middle child/daughter - Sage (15) has my sister's smile and quiet fierceness. Our youngest son - Never (12) has my sister's booming laugh and dry wit. All 3 look like her - it brings me peace and joy to see her in them. Our mother (nearly 90 now) lives with us, is raising Rory's nephews and niece with us - such a blessing. She is always with us - but it is so sweet and precious when her friends share their memories of Rory with us. Through us all, Rory will live forever. Thank you again, bless you - Temple


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