Our Hero

{By Karey from mackin ink}

this is one of those stories i need my girlies to remember. when i’m here. when i’m not. whenever. forever.

it’s a story about strength. the iron giant kind of strength. stronger than that, maybe. it’s a story about love. a fierce and fighty love as everlasting and as heartbreaking as old dan had for little ann. it’s a story about keeping your word until the very end. kind of like inigo montoya. hanging on to dear, dear life even while scaling the cliffs of insanity, even when battling rodents of unusual size, and even in the pit of despair.

oh, it’s a good story. because this story? this story is all yours. it’s about your aunt lin. a real-deal hero. who was all yours.

you weren’t even supposed to meet each other. her cancer had come to visit again. but this time? her cancer brought some friends. they all barged in without invitation to breasts and bones. and this time? it looked

we rushed a brand new little lillie from dallas to chicago to meet this ball of magic i called my sister. and a funny thing happened, lill: lin fell head-over-tails in love with you. so, with a brand new you in her heart, she fought her cancer and all those nasty companions. and she won.

that’s how important you are.

then came you, grae. a mini-me in colors and smiles. from the minute she laid eyes on you, lin was hooked. so, with a brand new you in her heart, she continued to fight. and continued to win.

that’s how important you are.

the two of you and lin shared a birthday month, you september girls. every september, we’d find her or she’d find us. with fireworks. always fireworks.

fast forward to the end of an august, when lill would turn seven in less than a week. but your aunt lin hadn’t gotten out of bed in over that. she couldn’t even walk on her own. even so, you had to ask, sweet lillie kate.

will you be at my birthday?

yes. she answered, after a great pause and with more conviction than anyone else in the room owned. i wouldn’t miss it for the world.

and so, on your seventh year, lill, your aunt lin came to your party. walked right in grammy’s door without any help or extra hands. wearing eye make-up, even. it was unforgettable.

that’s how important you are.

and grae? don’t think i didn’t see you that entire night. hovering over lin. touching her every so often with one gentle finger just to prove to yourself that, yes, she was really there. when she really wasn’t supposed to be. my god, grae…you were only five. but nineteen days later, you would turn six. so you had to ask.

will you be at my birthday?

an even greater, how-could-it-get-any-more-painful pause this time. i wouldn’t miss it for the world, grae. promised with more conviction than i think even she owned. and i don’t know how the heck she did it, but she held on until your birthday. remember? she even brought fireworks.

that’s how important you are.

there was one more mackin girlie due to arrive. but not until october. there was just no way lin would meet this one. i knew it. she knew it. everyone knew it.

grae-girl? i could see in your eyes that you knew it, too. but you had just turned six. one of those ages when there’s a miracle behind every moon. so you asked lin if she could stay. to see our newest babe. and what do you think she promised?

she wouldn’t miss it. not. for. the. world.

esmé dahlia…you came early. snuck in at the very end of the month. i think you must’ve known. or maybe you just wanted to be a september girl, too. lin was the first to arrive that next morning to meet you. to hold you. until her tears became too much. you wouldn’t know each other long. less than two weeks. but know this, esmé. the very idea of you kept her alive.

and that’s how important you are.

as i write this story…lin’s ending…you are nine and eight and two. today, your lives are fairly simple. you ask. you get. like magic.
but someday, your lives won’t be so simple. someday, your lives will become less about asking. more about giving. someday, your lives will become less about today. all about tomorrow. and that’s when you’ll truly understand all that lin gave to you. and that’s when your hearts will just shatter with the weight of her gift.

so fold this memory into a tiny square, you three, and keep it in your back pockets. reach for it when you need it. and if one of you forgets for a moment, remind her, won’t you?

that once upon a time and happily ever after and over the hills and through the woods and now and forever and ’til death we do part and goodnight gorilla…this was your story. this was your hero.

i hope your memories of lin make you better. just better. just more. hold tight to her strength when you need to be strong. or when someone else needs you to be strong. recreate her love as often as you impossibly can. and then once more after that. keep your word until the very, very end. try. give. care. stay.

because that’s how important she was.

Karey makes us swoon over at Mackin Ink
She is an editor for Kirtsy and owns {the sweeterie}
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Featured by Story Editor, Amy Turn Sharp

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33 Comments to “Our Hero”

  1. Carla says:

    This is the first story I read on Karey’s site, wish I knew how I linked over so I could thank them! Being an only child raising sisters, stories like these melt me & break my heart all at once.

  2. My daughter sent me the link to read Karey’s story. Of course, it broke my heart. It is sad and lovely, and it touched me in places I had long since thought inpenetrable. Stories are like gifts and I thank you so much for this one.

  3. This one made me cry right in the middle of work. Thank you for introducing me to such a great writer this week!
    Amy @ Never-True Tales recently posted..Bye- Bye Baby

  4. Melissa says:

    If I never read another story, I would be okay, for this one takes your heart and makes it bleed with bittersweet goodness.
    Melissa recently posted..Bloom

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Arianne Segerman and Story Bleed Magazine, karey mackin. karey mackin said: for some reason, it makes me weepier when it's on another site! RT @amyturnsharp @storybleed http://storybleed.com/2011/01/our-hero/ [...]

  6. Zoeyjane says:

    God, that was beautiful. When I grow up, I want to be a writer and sister and mother like Karey’s piece conveys that she is,
    Zoeyjane recently posted..Coming out

  7. TwoBusy says:

    TwoBusy recently posted..Winter Comes

  8. Burgh Baby says:

    Damn. Just . . . damn. Perfect.
    Burgh Baby recently posted..This Is Why I Havent Been Around Much The Past Two Weeks

  9. Erin Lane says:

    Heartbreakingly beautiful. Such a magnificent story. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Your children are lucky to have had her. This story will make for such an amazing memory.
    Erin Lane recently posted..Five Fabulous and First Class Bloggers

  10. Mr Lady

    WOW. Thank you so much for this story.

  11. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time. Thank you for sharing this story.
    Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy recently posted..Standing Out in A Crowd

  12. Alexia says:

    This was so beautiful and delicate and powerful. I mean, gee thanks! As if I need another reason to tear up these days! Aunt Lin sounds spectacular, your daughters adorable. In fact, your whole family sounds like magic.

  13. Wow. No words. RT @StoryBleed: So proud to be featuring @mackinink on Story Bleed Magazine, her words are a gift. http://ht.ly/3J4Va

  14. Erin Lane says:

    Crying at my desk. Worth the read. RT @PsychMamma Go read this: http://ht.ly/3J4Va Bring a tissue. It has the amazing power of beautiful.

  15. KeAnne says:

    RT @ErinCLane: Crying at my desk. Worth the read. RT @PsychMamma Go read this: http://ht.ly/3J4Va Bring a tissue. It has the amazing pow …

  16. Mr Lady says:

    THIRDED. RT @TwoBusy: Seconded. RT @Zoeyjane That. Stole. My. Breath. RT @StoryBleed … featuring @mackinink: http://ht.ly/3J4Va

  17. anastasia says:

    That was such a sweet tale, and so beautifully wrought. What a wonderful sis & aunt you all had. What a gorgeous storyteller you are. :)

  18. RT @mrlady THIRDED. RT @TwoBusy Seconded. RT @Zoeyjane That. Stole. My. Breath. RT @StoryBleed … featuring @mackinink: http://ht.ly/3J4Va

  19. RT @ErinCLane: Crying at my desk. Worth the read. RT @PsychMamma Go read this: http://ht.ly/3J4Va Bring a tissue. It has the amazing pow …

  20. Emily Cassee says:

    RT @ErinCLane: Crying at my desk. Worth the read. RT @PsychMamma Go read this: http://ht.ly/3J4Va Bring a tissue. It has the amazing pow …

  21. karey mackin says:

    you guys! jeez! thank you for the love! whoa. @ballerinatoes @AJK124 @mrlady @TwoBusy @Zoeyjane @StoryBleed http://ht.ly/3J4Va

  22. sarah says:

    i cannot stop thinking about this piece. hit close to home and took my breath away. beautifully written.
    sarah recently posted..missed moment

  23. catkins says:

    RT @ErinCLane: Crying at my desk. Worth the read. RT @PsychMamma Go read this: http://ht.ly/3J4Va Bring a tissue. It has the amazing pow …

  24. I love this so much.
    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah recently posted..Questions for You- My Snow Week

  25. This is why I read blogs.

    Thank you for sharing this part of yourself today, this part of your girls, this part of your sister.

    This made a difference to me today.
    Susan @WhyMommy recently posted..A fine bucket of fish

  26. mj says:

    This broke my heart, especially since I, too, lost an aunt lin to cancer.

    Thanks to Sarah for linking to it.

  27. nancy says:

    What a sad but beautiful story. I was very moved by it. I have a large family and quite a few of them have been cancer survivors. I did, however lose my Aunt last year to cancer. She was a beautiful, vibrant, hilarious person. The last thing she made me promise was to watch P.S. I Love You with my Uncle. She wrote each of her children a journal and asked that I give it to them. My Uncle loved the movie and we recorded it in High Definition on my DVR for him. He was sad that he didn’t have a journal, and would come over weekly to watch the movie with me. I have DISH Network’s employee subscription which made the quality of sound and picture more impactful. We watched the movie over and over again. He found his journal on the day he decided to clean out her closet. She had left the journal there for him under her favorite sweater. The first page read “I know you will find this someday when P.S. I Love You makes you wonder if I would have taken the time to write to you. Well Honey Bunny I did. Here it is. My letters to you and this one wish that you and my crazy kids laugh, live, and never let anyone steal your joy.”

  28. [...] just read this beautiful and sad story, and it made me cry some silent and desperate tears. It is about strength and love, and it may have [...]

  29. Heartbreaking & Bulging with Beauty.

  30. I loved this the first time I read it over on Karey’s blog, and it made my tears well up and my heart swell this time, too. Beautiful.

  31. Katie says:

    This is breathtaking. More beautiful than my menial words can convey. What a gift to your girlies. Thank you and keep going.