Her name was Liz, I said.
How many times have I told people the name of my sister since she died? The people who never had the opportunity to meet her, I mean.
A handful. A few dozen. I don’t know.
Though ever present in my heart and often on my mind, my sister’s story is one that I have not revealed – except through this blog – to many of the people whom I’ve come to know since her death.
Those who do know her story are those few whom I consider to be close friends.
I am grateful that her story remains alive and well, even if she is gone.
Once upon a time, my sister was born on December 1, 1976 in Washington, D.C. I was not quite three years old.
She died on a Thursday, this day, seven years ago. But the story doesn’t end there.
I’m beginning to see that our deathdays are so much less critical than our birthdays.
What happens between them is what matters.
Let me say it again.
What we choose to do and learn and see and say and how we move and speak and listen between our Birthday and our Last Day is what counts.
My sister Elizabeth lived every single day of her life in a spirit of commitment, compassion, and justice. As a child and a young adult, her days were filled with learning, laughter and love. She was practical, funny, sassy and smart. And she had strong opinions.
Shortly before I married, she spent the night at my apartment and we slept together in my queen size bed.
She tossed and turned, until finally she spoke up in the darkness,
I hate your pillows!
These pillows are the worst!
I hadn’t thought about my pillows before. I punched one of them. It was flat. The other one was lumpy.
She was right! Those were horrible pillows!
We dissolved into silly giggles before falling asleep, Liz muttering, “stupid pillows”, which made us laugh until we cried.
In the morning I’d forgotten all about the pillows.
A few months later, Liz appeared at my parents’ door step. In her arms she carried an enormous box.
A wedding present.
Inside the box were four beautiful, brand new pillows.
Gracias hermana mia.
I miss you.