Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Remembering a little helps a lot

My sister would have loved Facebook. She would have bugged the living hell out of me with those Farmville animals, and I am absolutely sure she would be addicted to Mafia Wars.

But she isn't. She's not here, because she died - five years ago this week. It seems so strange to even be typing those words. It seems like I should be writing them about someone else. Bad things wouldn't, couldn't happen to her, to our family, right? Her husband wouldn't get cancer, she wouldn't care tirelessly for him until his death, and then she absolutely, certainly wouldn't die of a stroke a year later. It couldn't happen. But it did.

But I don't want to write about that. I've spent enough time cursing the fates and shaking my fist at the sky. I've spent hours crying buckets of tears. I just want to share with you some of the memories I have that keep me strong when I feel like my heart will absolutely crack in two.

Oscar Wilde once said, "Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us." I believe it. Memories can seem so small, so silly - just a few moments in time, really. But when we lose someone, they help. Immensely. Here then, just a few of my favorite entries:

My wedding day, when my sister, as my matron of honor, realized our caterers had hired as the bartender a local guy known far and wide as "Cross-Eyed Carl." With only a few giggles, she stepped behind the bar and helped him get a few drinks poured. In glasses, even.

Her cool signature dance moves - particularly to Aerosmith songs. There was this one that involved a fist pump and a leg kick and ... well, let's just say Steven Tyler would be in awe.

Her absolute loyalty to McDonald's coffee, which she insisted was the best. No matter how much I begged and pleaded for a Starbucks run, we'd always end up at the clown shop.

The day my timid, sweet-natured sister, bound and determined, waited outside at the animal shelter before it opened so she could have first dibs on the one available tortoise shell kitten. and how she, who loathed confrontation of any sort, stood up to the bully who tried to cut in front of her. She won, too.

I could go on and on, of course - about my sister's ability to talk non-stop about her three kids - how even my falling face-first in a faux faint into the couch couldn't stop her from regaling me with the exploits of their day. Those kids, by the way, are terrific - talented and funny and whip-smart. I think she's still watching over them like any mom would; just from farther away.

So memory is a diary, huh? I guess that's another reason I'll never stop writing.


  1. What a nice tribute to your sister, Diane. I like Wilde's quote about memories being our diary. I hope to get to a point where I can write like this about my niece.

  2. Beth, I just wanted to tell you again I am so terribly sorry about your niece. And I hope you can write about her one day, if it helps.