Today, this morning, I am thinking about my little sister. She died last spring, she was 65 years old at the time, and her heart just gave out, and suddenly she was no longer with us. This is the first Christmas her family will have to endure, without her presence my heart goes out to them.
We grew up in a dysfunctional family, Elaine used to joke about it, she would say “We put the FUN in dysfunctional” and blow it off. I would like to say we were good buddies and never fought with each other, but that would not be true. We had our up’s and down’s, we mixed it up from time to time.
Today I do not dwell on the negative, I think of the joy, the positive things that she gave so freely to me in life. The times we would both lie down in front of the heater in the hallway, to get warm on winter days, until Dad ran us off, to get dressed for school. The times we walked together to school. Watching her work so hard on her tap-dance routines. Grabbing white socks out of our Dad’s sock drawer and enjoying “race and slide” episodes on the hardwood floor in our parents house.
Laying down on the bench at the kitchen table, and writing our names on the bottom side, with greasy fingers. Used to come home from school and sit down to a bowl of Cheerio’s and Archie and Veronica comic books. She was crazy about cinnamon toast, often I would load them full of sugar, put them on the broiler and cook some up for her.
When I got into trouble (which was frequently) I got grounded for the rest of my life, she on the other hand, got a couple of days, and then the restriction was mysteriously lifted. She was the apple of my Dad’s eye. She asked me to take care of a guy who was bullying her at school, so I searched him out, and had a talk with him. His Dad came down to our house, to have a talk with my Dad, about me, and it heated up, so Dad punched him out thru the screen door!
Life on Mocine Ave in the fifties … how quaint.
In 1964 I left home and more or less never looked back. I was in Viet Nam when she had her first kiss, got married and later on started her family. Which ended up being four wonderful boys. Later on in life, we were not close, seldom communicated with each other and lived, for the most part, in separate worlds. Tried several times to bridge the gap, sort of speaking, but it always failed to hit the mark, it did not happen.
Now she is no longer here, and I cannot pick up a phone and call her, nowhere to mail her a card, we cannot visit … She is gone. A small part of my heart has been ripped out, and the ever present hurt took its place.
Every now and then we would as a family, make a trip across the bay to San Francisco. I remember a time sitting on a hill by the Golden Gate and watching a ship sail off onto the horizon, and eventually out of my sight.
Thinking about it, I realized one simple fact. Although it was now gone from me, it was just now appearing to someone on the other side of the ocean. Such is the case with my Little Sister, when she died, she slowly started disappearing from my life, but at the same time, she was just now appearing to her Lord and Savior.
This Christmas, right now, I really miss her.