Even if there is a mass exodus from Snapchat the past year or so due to the Instagram Stories option and now with the new Snapchat update wrecking people’s heads, nothing can compare to Snapchat’s ability to connect people. Relationships form in an organic and authentic way and often times you might even meet those friends in real life. Today’s Guest Blogger #19, the incredible Thomas Henry and I were meant to meet, along with his sister Leona. Unfortunately, it was during a time I was only over in Ireland for a short visit and she was unwell. So we said we would meet up next time I was over. I’ll let Thomas tell you the rest in his heart wrenching and beautifully touching LOVE story.
So I’ll start off by telling you who I am and where I come from. I’m Thomas Henry. I’m 30 years of age and I’m from Ireland. My lovely friend Karen recently offered me a chance to share some love and a short story of my life and what LOVE means to me. I met Karen through my amazing sister Leona. They had become Snapchat friends and got on so well that Leona told me to add her on Snapchat and introduce myself and tell her who I was. So I did and since then I have become good friends with Karen also.
So what is love and what does it mean to me? There are all different kinds of love…love for siblings, love for a partner, love for parents, friends, relatives, and lots more. The love I want to share on my February post is about my family and in particular my beautiful sister Leona who recently passed. Leona was born with cystic fibrosis and fought every day of her life to keep herself alive. She never complained, never blamed life or anything or anyone for what she had to endure everyday. She had the strength of a lion and the heart of a warrior.
I was also born with CF, cystic fibrosis. Leona and I both received double lung transplants, me in 2013 and Leona in 2014. We both got calls on a Wednesday evening. Leona was 13 days on the list and I was 7 weeks on the list before we got our calls. We were both so lucky!
Leona never had an easy life. She was always struggling with something but never let it get her down and never complained. When I try to explain how loving and caring Leona was I can’t express it or put it into words because there are no words. Her love for her friends and family was endless and had no boundaries. She would go to the ends of the earth for them. She was the friend who would give you her shoulder to cry on and tell you what to do and not to panic, that it was ok. She was the sister who would pull you through your toughest times and wipe your tears and spoon feed you when you were too sick to do it yourself. She was the sister that would give you her whole heart and die for you in a second. She was the daughter who would be in hospital and get flowers delivered to our mum at home to cheer her up and brighten her day. The daughter who would go the ends of the earth and back for her parents and wouldn’t think twice about doing whatever it took to protect them. Leona was an angel on earth and is now our Guardian angel in heaven.
May of last year Leona became very unwell complaining of pain in her hips, knees and a lot of other places and severe tummy pains and bloating. She was told for over 4 weeks that it was just a minor bowel blockage and that the pains everywhere were just arthritis. So she took their word for it and persevered with the pains until it became so bad we brought her in to a&e on a Saturday night. As the days went on she got worse and worse. It was the most heart wrenching time of our lives. She was diagnosed with cancer of the bones, the small intestine and had a huge tumour in her bowel also. She was diagnosed on the Friday and passed away at 12:40am early hours of Tuesday morning. It was so quick that we didn’t even have time to register anything that we had just gone through. One minute we had our beautiful Leona and the next she was gone.
Nothing seemed real. It felt like I was outside my body looking in at all of what was after happening. She was only 32 years of age and had so much to live for. We have 3 little dogs who Leona gave every bit of her attention to. She loved them with every beat of her heart. They were her fur babies. September of last year we lost our little dog Pedro then too. I was so devastated. I just couldn’t believe I had lost another piece of my life. I adored that little guy so much. He was so full of love and mischief, always looking for a kiss and a cuddle.
The reason I wanted to open up about all this was to tell people that no matter if you’re close to your family and friends or not, just try to tell them that you love them at least once a day. I’d do anything to have my beautiful sister Leona back. She was the salt of the earth, the sunshine to my day, the beat of my heart, and the rock that got me through my whole life. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her. So appreciate them, your loved ones. One day they will be gone. Leona had her whole life ahead of her. The love I have for her can’t even be put into words. She is my soultwin. I have been to many readings now and they all asked me if I was a twin and I always said no, because we aren’t twins. Leona is 2 and a half years older than I, but the symbol of twins always pops up. Which shows me that we’re inseparable. I know she is with me every minute of every day!
That’s what keeps me going from day to day now. Life has changed very much since my sweetheart Leona left us. Nothing is the same as it was and people tell me that it will get easier and I will move on, which I don’t think is true. I won’t ever move on. What might happen is I might learn to live this new existence without her but I’ll never forget her, never stop thinking about her. I will continue to go into her room every night and kiss her pillow and tell her I love her. And I’ll talk to her again in the morning.
I love to tell people about her and talk about her all the time because I’m so proud of her and I burst with pride that she is MY sister. I really hope you get an insight of the beautiful person my sister was and that it will just make you appreciate your siblings that little bit more because one day you won’t be able to just turn round and give them a hug like you could. So thank you for talking the time to read this..much love Thomas x
Thomas, there are no words, as I have said to you before, to take away the pain of losing Leona. All I can do is thank you for sharing such a powerful LOVE story here on Yankee Doodle Paddy. I hope your openness will encourage others to share love knowing how precious time is. Your relationship with Leona is, was and always will be special. As I like to say, we don’t lose a loved one, we gain an angel. And you know that. I feel blessed to have had a special friendship with her and am grateful that has continued with you, her soul twin! LOVE you and all your family!
Soul Twin LOVE,