Monday, April 18, 2011

DAY 195 - Learning From My Little Sister

Me and Tori
I have one sister, Tori Janaya. She was born in the late spring of my fourth grade year. I remember my Mom being pregnant, tiny Tori coming home from the hospital, and I held her in my arms.

Before long she was a toddler; so cute, such a joy. Then time sped up.

Today, Tori is 49, and dealing with ovarian cancer.

Through this process she is teaching me more about life.

From the beginning, June, 3, 2009, Tori has talked openly with us about her feelings, her experiences, her life. On August 23, 2010 she sent us the following note.

“so...if it's true that none of us know for sure....then the only choice we have is to live moment my moment...what you can do for me is to stay in the presence of that moment by moment view and to lift me with your love and strength...instead of predicting my with me as I continue to live...if it looks like I'm passing's still the same...moment by moment...

I would also encourage us not to put off ...not to wait to tell someone you love never know when it's your time...their time..

If you look at me like I'm's not helpful for's an interesting time...some friends who fell away in my life have returned with even more love and other friends have disappeared because they can't handle what is happening to me...I guess fear is a powerful sword...a sword that can pierce the hearts of people we love...I hope all of us in our own lives with our own challenges will find the sword of strength and honor and love....not the weakness that shows and takes over simply because we are afraid....we have to be better than that....we must be better than that!” ***

In the way of my heart, she is my little sister. In the world, while a sister to all, she is anything but diminutive. She is strong, gentle, and powerfully alive.

I am more than prepared to continue walking this road with you my sister, wherever it may lead us; and I have much to learn.

From just one of your brothers who loves you,


  1. I am SO HONORED to be your little sister. Thank you for sharing yourself in such a beautiful way. I'm deeply touched.

    I love you so much.

  2. For the rest of you wonderful people, Tori and I are simply writing back and forth to one another, crying and rejoicing at each step.

    I am concerned for the safety of my laptop. Tears and all.

    Just imagine me with tears in my eyes, reading and feeling over an over, "I am SO HONORED to be your little sister."

    I, too am HONORED. And so grateful, both that we have this connection and conversation, but also that you are open to sharing this with all.

    One of your big brothers, with love

  3. I spent time with my older sister as she continued to live, moment by moment, until she died of breast cancer. As Tori said, some people can't handle it--I had to remind some that "looking at her like she was dying was not helpful to her." It wasn't always easy, but there were moments of pure joy we would not have experienced together if not for her condition. The two of you seem to be walking that road quite well. You will never know how many people you will help by sharing in this way. Wishing you both love, joy, peace, serenity and all good things. ~Jean

  4. Jean,

    Thank you so much for contributing to this conversation that affects and includes us all.

    Tori and I are very fortunate to have one another.

    So true, that we will never have a head count of those benefited by this public sharing of our lives, but as Tori recently said, "Openness is healing for all of us, I think."

    Your well wishes are always appreciated.


  5. Dear Kris,
    I am just learning about Tori's transition as I emailed her and got her response...well, that was a trip!
    I began to google her to get more info and found your blog.
    I met Tori when we were in Tokens - a huge play production we did in SF in 1985.
    She popped back into my life when she lived in Sebastopol and we met thru mutual friends.
    I have not been in touch with her since she left No Cal...but kept her updated on events and info I thought may be of interest to her. Such as I did today.

    I shall always remember Tori as a gentle lovely, loving soul.

    Warm wishes to you,

  6. Hello Kari!

    Thank you for this contact!

    I love the connections. Yes, to her gentle lovely, loving soul.

    And warm wishes to you!


  7. Thank you so much for posting this, Kris. My dear 40 year friend just found out she has metastasized breast cancer in her liver. There are so many emotions she and all of us that love her are dealing with now. Your post helped me to remember to not see her as dying but to see her as alive and LIVING right NOW. I will take that into my everyday conversations with her. I will bring joy and faith and hope as well as my raw love for her into all our conversations. They will be real and they will be precious. I will not allow any fear to come between her and me. Thanks again.

  8. Barbara,
    So glad to be of help. Also wonderful for me that my sister is helping others from beyond this life!
    With love,