Today marks the 4th anniversary of the tragic death of my sister Barbara. As I do each year, I want to share her words with you. This is a reprint of a post I wrote in February, 2010. Please hug someone you love today.
Thank you all so very much for your heartfelt thoughts, prayers, and words of condolence over the past week. The loss of my dear sister has been devastating to me and my entire family. Your words meant a lot.
My sister Barbara was 5 years younger than me, which disproves the theory "Older is wiser", as she taught me many life lessons through the years. Barbara taught me how important it is to define your dreams and then go and get them for yourself. She taught me that it was OK to pursue being happy with my life. She taught me to take care of myself first, so I could be the best mom possible for my children. She taught me what it means to be a friend through her ability to listen and care. She taught me what it means to be a sister through her love for me, Pam, Becky and Brenda. She taught me what it means to be a daughter through her abiding love and respect for our parents. She taught me what it means to be a mother through her willingness to do anything for her children. She taught me what it means to be an aunt through her caring for all her nieces and nephews.
Barbara's passing has left a rift in my family that will never be filled. I wish that I had spoken with her in the week before she died and told her how much I loved her. As it is, I must believe that she knows it somehow.
Please reach out to someone in your family today and tell them that you love them. You never know if it will be your last chance.
During the past week, I found the following passage written by Barbara in her journal. It was written sometime in 2000, the year she turned 39. It was read at her memorial service on Thursday, and I want to share it with you here.
"What can I say, but be true to you and you will never disappoint yourself.
Try to treat your children as you would see your perfect self behave.
Don't sell yourself short. Amazing things can happen - even at 39.
If you were to know that you would have your last year on earth - how would you live your life?
Know that every day will count.
Go surf, ride the bike with the kids, plant a tree, put a fence in, put a hot tub in.
Try to make a difference for your children."
Rest in peace now, my beautiful sister. I love you.