Saturday, December 10, 2005

My Sister, My Friend

Dear Rach,

Today is Amy's birthday. I can hardly believe it's been 22 years since she was born. Three days after her birth I turned 22. So young, yet so happy to be her mommy. Sound familiar? You were close to that age when you had Shaylyn.

You helped Amy celebrate 19 birthdays - some in person, but the majority from across the country via telephone. I remember when Amy turned 3 (you were not quite 6). We had a birthday celebration at Nana and Papa's house in Carlsbad and Amy had yet to master the art of opening gifts. She'd tear off a little piece of the wrapping paper and hand it to me to throw in a trash can. You were so patient and made us all laugh with your contagious giggle as you tried to explain how to get to the actual gift more quickly.

You two formed a quick and solid friendship, much more than most sisters at that age. And as you got older, the bond became even stronger. Your dad and I were pleasantly surprised to learn that you'd started calling each other on a regular basis. We were so happy to know that you could turn to each other for help or advice...What should I do about this guy who keeps calling? Do you think Dad and Les will be angry about such and such? Should I buy the shoes AND purse?

You flew out to Fort Worth to surprise Amy (and your dad!) when she graduated from high school (that was so much fun to plan with you) and she flew out to visit you and Shaylyn for her 2nd birthday. I knew you'd always be close in spite of the geographical distance. I even envisioned you living in the same big city some day. Or at least taking trips together, as you both loved to travel.

One of my proudest moments as a mother was watching Amy stand up before hundreds of mourners and talk about her love for you, her sister, her friend. She reminisced about the times you two would sneak down to the kitchen and eat ice cream straight from the container. You both thought you were getting away with something but we knew all along and let you have your fun. I wish I could remember that entire eulogy, but I was so wrapped up in her grief as well as my own (and Rod's and Debbie's) that part of me was mentally holding her up as she spoke, hoping to send her some strength and courage to finish without breaking down completely. It was the proudest, yet one of the most painful moments in my life. Oh, how I wish I could've have protected her from such pain and sadness. And how I wish I could have done something, anything, to protect you from the danger that brought us to where we are today.

I find that I can't think of you without thinking of Amy. I must have hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of the two of you, bringing to mind just as many happy memories, making me smile. So today, on your little sister's birthday I'm thinking of both of you and the love and laughter you shared. Sisters and friends.




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