REMEMBERING MY SISTER


Some of you may remember my post that mentioned my sister and her husband losing their home in a fire outside of Freer  the day before Hurricane Harvey hit.  They were able to rebuild and move into their new home in time to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in December.  Sadly,  the effects of Alzheimer’s had already reduced the quality of her life.  Last week she died peacefully at home at the age of 87.

With my son standing beside me I was able to deliver these words of remembrance at her service.

SISTERS: MARIE, BARBARA AND ME

I hate losing one of my big sisters, Marie.  She was thirteen years older so she was like a second mother to me.  My other sister, Barbara, is nine years older.  I wanted to grow up to be just like my big sisters.  They both helped with me when I was little.  When Marie and Clifton got married, I would often stay with them as my mother had some health problems.  She always seemed to be in the kitchen cooking something.  If unexpected guests arrived, she would waltz into the kitchen and whip out a meal from scratch.

As our age gap narrowed, we became adult friends.  She shared her recipes – buttermilk pie, Christmas cookies and casseroles.  And she taught me how to cook deer meat a dozen different ways.  Yet could never teach me how to crochet – my fingers could just not handle a crochet needle and thread.  But she could crochet anything!

For the past several years the three of us could not always get together very often, but when we did, before we left we would join hands and make a circle.  We laughed like kids again.  I am not sure who started this, but I think it was Barbara.  If only two of us were together, we would still join hands and enlist anyone standing nearby – a niece, a nephew, a husband – to join and complete the circle.

Last Sunday Barbara and I went to Freer to see Marie.  As we left we took her frail hands and made our circle.  She opened her eyes.  We wanted to think she understood, but it didn’t matter…we were making our last circle.

I will miss my big sister, Big Daughter, as our father called her.  She had a full life.  She loved Freer, she loved living on the ranch that our grandparents started, she loved her family and most of all she loved Clifton for almost 71 years.

Rest in peace, my sister.

Her a link to her obituary is below.

https://www.holmgreenmortuaryinc.com/services.asp?page=odetail&id=3293&fbclid=IwAR2Pt64cMmojGOApGeUTqWk7lF4bqfrusQyy2iLuSb1oisILbPVdcW7h_K8

 

67 thoughts on “REMEMBERING MY SISTER

  1. My dearest Crone……….what a beautiful and loving tribute. I know this road is difficult and I also know that you have always made time to stop and relish the most important places along the way. How very, very lovely that you formed your circle with Marie one last time……….simply beautiful.

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    • Oh, Tin Man, how special to hear from you! The memories are sweet and so layered in one spot. She never wanted to live anywhere else. I said good-bye a little at a time when I went to visit as she was not herself. Her husband vowed to keep her at home and he did until the end. Every day is a gift and I try to make even the simple special. Love binds and heals.

      I hope all is well with you. Other than this loss, Husband and I are doing well. I miss your posts and tales of your travels, but I don’t post as often these days. Hugs and cheers, my friend!

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  2. What a beautiful eulogy you have written. My heart breaks for you in losing a sister, even though she was not totally herself at the end. My mom has dementia, and it’s so hard in this slow slow goodbye, yet I still am able to kiss her on her forehead, to show her photos of her great grandchildren that she does not understand. So, I guess what I’m saying is that your sister was ready to go to the next place, since she’d already left in some ways. Your memories of her will always live in beauty and love.

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    • Thank you so much! I could not have read them at the service without my son standing beside me. I am sorry to hear about your mother but we cannot shun them just because they are not themselves. We can still touch and tell them we love them. My sister was fortunate to have grandchildren and great-grandchildren who came to see her and learned about life and death by being around her. Yes, she was ready to go and we were ready to let her go. May you find peace with your mother’s journey. Thanks for taking time to read and comment.

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      • I am so total agreement with you. My daughter insists on taking her children (since the ages of 3 on up) the seven hour journey to visit my mom, their great-grandmother. The oldest one vaguely remembers my mom when she was a “character” and always talking/laughing. Now they just pat her on the head while she’s in her wheelchair and show her their toys. She smiles. It counts. ❤

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    • Yes, it seems that a part of my life is over, but as I get older I must accept that more and more. Daughter, Son and Husband surrounded me with love. She my sister had the love of her family until the end. All ok here. A little cooler fall weather so that is a change finally. Cheers to California!

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  3. My dear friend, how i hurt for you at this sad time. I too am one of three daughters and love my sisters dearly. We live in separate parts of the world so don’t see each other often, but love each other dearly.
    I hope if I am left after one of them dies, I shall be able to write such a beautiful eulogy. With love from the far side of the world.

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    • Sisters are special so you understand the bonds. My great-niece spoke at the service and she asked if I would contribute. I put this together the night before and managed to simply write from the heart. You will do a fine job of writing a eulogy for either or your sisters as you have written beautifully of others you have lost. Life goes on…I cannot waste what I have left. Cheers and love from the other side of the world! Your words are appreciated.

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  4. What beautiful words to celebrate a full life and a deep love. The circle you sisters formed together will last forever. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a sister but my two brothers are very precious to me. I can’t imagine ever losing one – or both – of them but often the universe has other plans. Thank you for sharing that beautiful picture of the three of you as young girls.

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    • Well, I was grateful for my sisters but I always wanted a brother too. The universe does often have different plans for us. I treasure that old photo as it was the only studio photo we ever had made together. Thanks for your kind words! Treasure your brothers!

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  5. Sorry to hear of your loss. So wonderful you felt close to her. I have one sister but we are beyond miles apart so having a sister such as yours’ would be such a wonderful thing. This is a loving tribute to her and I am happy they were able to move into a new home for a time. A world of love shared. Take care.

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  6. As an only child, I’ve always envied those with siblings; your beautiful tribute not only honors your sister, it also points to the enduring strength and importance of such bonds. I’m glad you were able to be in contact over these latter years, and that, in the end, your circle was formed one last time. In truth, the circle remains unbroken — a blessing in a hard time. Thank you so much for sharing your sisters and the love among you with us, too.

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    • Perhaps we don’t really appreciate our siblings until our parents are gone. I was truly fortunate to be close to my sisters and have them share memories. Sometimes I felt like an only child after my sisters left home since they were much older. I tried to honor her memory and life. Sometimes it is hard for me to share personal information and I almost did not include the old photo. The original was destroyed in the fire but Husband had taken a photo of it on a visit – again saving it for all of us. There was only one copy.

      I hope your fall is going well. Cooler weather has been nice. No fall color here except for the rain tree in our neighbor’s backyard that changes color some.

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      • I’m chuckling because our fall has been ghastly: gray, wet, gloomy, rainy, and so on. But! “They” say that the sun will be out by Friday, and we’ll have a beautiful weekend to be outdoors. The best fall color will be a blue sky.

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      • No, it has not been a great fall except for the cooler weather. Slow rain coming down tonight but “they” predict blue fall skies for the weekend. We plan on attending a Day of the Dead celebration in downtown Corpus Christ in the afternoon.

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  7. Such a loving tribute to big sis Marie, Jo Nell. I’m saddened by the news of your loss, and offer you my condolences. I was empathizing and relating with you all the way through your tribute, as I have two big sisters too and we are close. I like the circle you always created as you held hands with your sisters.

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    • Oh, Cynthia, so you know the bonds with big sisters. Holding hands became a rather silly thing as we were older but I loved it. Marie with along with what her younger sisters wanted to do! May you and your sisters have many more years of being close. Hugs!

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  8. Jo, I am so sorry for your loss. You post touched me deeply. What a beautiful photo of you with your sisters. Thank you for sharing such a treasure. You are such a dear heart. Though I never had a sister, you’re one I would like to have had. Those we love leave us in one way but they’ll always be with us in spirit. Thank God for memories. Sending you a big hug.

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    • Oh, Diana, that is one of the most beautiful compliments I have ever been given! And I would have loved to have been your big sister – anyone would have been fortunate to have you for a sister. Yes, our loved ones will be with us as long as we remember. I know how you treasure family and even ones you never got to meet. Hugs back to you, my friend. I treasure our friendship and admire you and your writing from afar!

      Husband, Daughter and I are going to a Day of the Dead celebration in downtown Corpus Christi this afternoon. The day is glorious with sunshine and temps in the low 80s and streets will be blocked off. There are altars to the dead in an old movie theater and a public altar. It is very timely for us but it will be celebrated with joy and remembrance.

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      • Wonderful! And thank you for your kind thoughts as well. Rob and I went to a Day of the Dead celebration in 1996, in San Miguel de Allende. We were the only gringos in the packed cemetery. Quite the experience. We are going to SMA again in January, too late for this special event. Though none in our family have Mexican roots, our daughter in Toronto usually makes an altar in her home on the Day of the Dead with photos of extended family now gone. It’s a lovely reminder, not that we need one.

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      • The one we go to is a bit commercial but it does try to teach about the culture. You were fortunate to go to a real one held in a cemetery. I like the idea of an altar to remember even if you can’t go to a cemetery. My mother always drug me to cemeteries to visit relatives when I was small and beyond. I have no Mexican roots other that growing up 80 miles from Mexico and having the culture all around. How wonderful for you to be going back to SMA! Cheers!

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  9. I agree with the others. What a beautiful tribute to your sister, Jo Nell. The portrait is wonderful. I love your expressions. Such spark in the eyes. And the little lockets are also very sweet. Sending big, big hugs your way, Theadora

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    • Thank you, Theadora! Life must go on as you remember the good times. I love the photo too – I was serious even as a 2 or 3 year old. How like you to notice the locket! Thank you for your visit from Paris – may your fall be lovely! Heading over to read you latest post! Hugs back…

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  10. My dearest Jo Nell, It is not easy to share the sadness and sorrow one feels when you loose a loved one. It is so lovely to read how you stood with her son and shared your memories of your older sister. Marie would have been very proud of you. Thank you Jo Nell for the photograph of you three girls. It is quite wonderful. I remembered that your husband had taken a photo of it before the fire destroyed your sister’s home. My arms are around you. Take care Jo Nell. With much love Virginia

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    • No, it is not easy to share when there is a loss and try to make it a celebration of life. But I think she would have been pleased. In the past year I tried to express my love for her but was never sure if she really recognized me or understood. Being back in that church was very special and filled with memories of when I lived back at Freer. I could not have done it without Son by my side. He had promised to read my words if I faltered, but I make it! I hope your neuropathy is continuing to improve, Virginia! Hugs and love to you! Every day is a gift.

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      • I thank you for the gift that is you, Jo Nell. When I started on this blog journey I had no idea it would open up new and wonderful worlds. And the very very best part of this journey is the friends that now accompany on my journey. Very loving thoughts to you, dear friend. Virginia

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  11. What a lot you packed into a few sentences!

    The circle of sisters was a wonderful image, and a wonderful idea. I don’t recall ever holding hands with any of my siblings, though I’m sure I must have as a toddler at least. Powerful idea.

    Condolences. And thanks.

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  12. My eyes filled up while reading this dear Jo.. So sad for your families loss.. This was a beautiful tribute to your Big sister.
    But what a wonderful gathering in that circle my friend. The disease of Alzheimer’s a cruel claimer of memories has visited our own family with both my in-laws.
    But I am certain that circle of hands is now well remembered as she rests in peace and looks down upon her little sis with love and gratitude..
    Sending my condolences dear Jo…
    Love and Blessings..
    Sue ❤

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  13. Oh JoNell, my heart goes out to you. Much love to you and family in this difficult time. It is a lovely tribute to her that you wrote in this post and the obituary is touching. She sounds like an amazing role model for you. She stays in your heart xo

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  14. Jo Nell, I’m truly sorry for your loss. You delivered a beautiful eulogy and did Marie proud. My heart goes out to you. I lost my little sister when I was just eight. I still think of her often, as I know you will always think of your sister. Great big hug!

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    • Thank you, Teagan. I am grateful to have one big sister left, no brothers but great male cousins. Sisters are always in our hearts. I am sorry for your loss at such a young age; I am grateful to have had mine for 87 years, much longer than I had my mother. Hugs are always appreciated!

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