Conversation on a Hill

By Muli

My sister Liliane and I were very close, and shared a special bond. She loved me so much, and I loved her back. Whenever I was being shouted at for misbehaving by my parents, she always felt bad. Sometimes she would even claim that my mistakes were hers because she didn’t want me to be shouted at. In her diary, she would write my name on every page: Hatanga. We often spent hours playing together, talking about our dreams and aspirations for the future, but fate wouldn’t allow our joy to last long.

It still hurts to think about Sunday June 17, 2007. That day, my father told me in a low voice that my sister was no more, she was dead. Tears rolled from his eyes. All I could think about was that only yesterday I was at the hospital chatting with her. Of course, she had an aggressive form of cancer but I wasn’t expecting her to leave the world so soon. I was heartbroken and struggled to come to terms with the fact that she was gone. I started to withdraw from my friends and family, and my grades began to suffer at school.

It was difficult for me to comprehend what had happened. I often went to a hill 10 minutes away from my home to enjoy the view of houses. I would go to this hill because of the fresh air and the sound of birds that would make me feel not disturbed by the noise of people and the industries while reminiscing about the beautiful moments I had with my sister.

One day, I spoke to a man named Jackson there. He told me his father recently got arrested because he had assaulted a police officer. I told him about my sister’s death, and we spent a long time talking and counseling each other, sharing experiences and giving each other advice on how to cope and to trust that in time, everything would be fine. This conversation changed my mindset. Specifically, Jackson’s advice to not spend time stressing over things that can’t be changed, but to rather try and accomplish the goals my sister had for herself was tremendously helpful.
I still ask myself how it was possible that Jackson advised me not to stress myself over things I cannot change, while he was stressed himself as well, but that statement gave me a new sense of purpose. My late sister wanted to be a nurse, so I decided to become a doctor. I wanted to help people who, like my sister, suffered serious illnesses.

After that conversation on the hill, I slowly found the courage to begin studying. Memories of my sister kept returning to me, but now they didn’t just make me sad, I felt strengthened by them. Most of the day, I studied with a photo of her in front of me, which was a constant reminder of my goal to become a doctor.
I spent a lot of time at the library. It was like a bell ringing that reminded me to make my sister proud. I thought about this constantly. I studied day and night, and eventually, I began studying in my late sister’s room to feel more encouraged and motivated. My performance at school was excellent, and I knew this was a turning point in my life.

I went to the cemetery once a month, and sat beside my sister’s tomb and talked to her about my passion for the topics of heredity and genetics. After a while, I told her how much we miss her at home, and that she’s always in our minds. Those moments, sitting beside her tomb and just chatting, I felt very connected to her. Whenever my energy levels dropped, or when I faced stressful moments such as the end-of-year examination, I returned to her and felt calm and relieved.

After passing high school I continued my education in medicine. I worked hard, reading every medicine book I could find to equip myself with more knowledge. After five years of study, I successfully received a Bachelor’s degree in medicine. Today, I work at Dausi’s Private Hospital, where I treat and assist people suffering from various diseases. I feel proud and fulfilled to have achieved my late sister’s dreams, and I still feel her presence whenever I put on my scrub.

2 April, 2023