Every Day Matters

My sister Christine was born three years after me. We shared a bedroom until I was fourteen. I complained when she filled our room with her baby doll collection, told her to go home when she tagged along after me and my friends, but I always let her climb into my bed at night when she was scared of the dark.

In our teenage years, she was a creative force. Thrift shop finds turned into her unique fashion style. She was an artist, a painter, she had an eye for color and texture and form. Her social life was busy, she was never without a beau. I had no social life to speak of, so I was always there when she got home. We would sit on her bed and talk long into the night. By the time I left for college, the little girl who was afraid of the dark had grown into a beautiful woman who turned out to be the strongest and bravest person I have ever known.

My little sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at the age of twenty. They told her it was the best kind of cancer to have; ninety-five percent of people are cured. We chose not to think about the other five percent. She fought valiantly for six years, enduring things it breaks my heart to think about even now.

The chemotherapy was brutal, there were no good drugs for the nausea, nothing to bring her blood cell counts back up after they bottomed out. In spite of all that, she graduated suma cum laude from the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science, took a job designing children's clothing in New York City, fell in love, and got married. The disease was relentless, she never even went into remission. She lost her battle at the age of twenty six. Her death left an un-repairable hole in my heart.

I fancied myself a creative person and I spent approximately twenty two years after she died trying to create something that would honor her memory. I wrote terrible poetry, uninspired short stories, even took a stab at a song or two. Every one of those attempts resulted in abject failure. In 2009, I was sitting in my living room doodling around with my guitar and a song materialized. That song was Every Day Matters and it felt like the perfect tribute to my sister's life.

The song I wrote for my sister opened some kind of floodgates, in my mind, or heart, or soul, or all three. In the three years that followed, over thirty more songs flowed, unimpeded, from the parts of me that had been closed up all those years. They are still coming.

Every time I sing my songs, she is with me.

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Every Day Matters (A Song for my Sister)  Music & Lyrics by Karen J. Kamenetsky (2010) 

Memories of our childhood have begun to fade. 
Still, some days I hear your laughter, at some silly game we played. 
I thought we had our whole lives, ‘till we grew old, 
But God had other plans for you; so I’ve been told. 

There were things I didn’t say that I should have, 
There were things I didn’t do that I could have, 
Now, in your memory, here’s a promise I make to you; to live like every day matters. 

It’s easy to forget, as the days and the years go by, 
Things I said I’d always remember and the reasons why. 
I said I’d treasure every moment, live every day 
Like there is no tomorrow, ‘cause no one can really say. 

I said I’d mean what I say when I say it, 
Take every card that I’m dealt and I’ll play it, 
And I’ll remember there’s a way I should live my life; like every day matters. 

Every moment that passes is gone and you never get it back again. 
You have to live like you mean it; love like tomorrow may never come. 
Live like every day matters. 

I’ve tried to teach my children, the things that you taught me. 
You said we’re stronger than we know, brave as we need to be. 
You never get that moment back, once you let it go. 
Now I try every day to live the things I know. 

I know what’s real and what isn’t. 
I can see what matters and doesn’t, 
And I know there’s a way I should live my life, 
Like every day matters. 

Every moment that passes is gone and you never get it back again. 
You have to live like you mean it; love like tomorrow may never come. 
Live like every day matters, 
Like every day matters, 
Like every day matters. 

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