When I was almost 5 years old you turned my world upside down.

Mom and dad brought you home to our little house with the 1/2 mile long driveway.

For a bit of time you were “my” baby.  What 5-year-old doesn’t love playing mommy?!?!

Over time you grew on my nerves.  You liked my toys, you wanted to be around me.

Our brother joined us when you were 3.

Our relationship started to blossom.  I couldn’t pick on a younger brother all by myself, after all.

Throughout the years we had our ups and downs.

We had awesome times creating plays and songs and dances to perform on the hay trailer.  The farm was our world and we enjoyed creating in it.

When mom and dad divorced I needed my space.  I avoided you a lot, but I never stopped loving you.

Through my high school years we longed for our weekends with mom and Warren away so we could order Little Caesar’s and watch movies all weekend.

We missed a few years when I went away to college.  I missed you a lot during that time.

Then, one day, you were on your own and we found each other all over again.

I cherish the weekend trips we would take between Rockford and Mason City to spend whatever time we could together.

I made the choice to move to Ohio.  It was hard because I didn’t want to be that far away from you.  But we each had to make our own choices.

If I hadn’t moved to Ohio I’d never have experienced the toll booth story to share with all.  I’ll share it here because it is classic you and it’s how I honor you daily!  You drove to Illinois from Iowa to bring Granny’s piano to me.  You borrowed your friend’s truck and rented a U-Haul trailer to bring it.  You went the long way around because you were concerned about the winding road on the most direct route.  You entered Illinois and had to go through the toll booth.  You didn’t know if you should got through the manual or automatic lane because you were driving a stick shift pick-up truck.  I love how blonde you were underneath all of that dark hair.

After moving to Ohio we continue to plan trips to see each other.  They were less frequent but lasted longer.  You lost your way in Chicago every single trip.  It was always an adventure for you.

God saw it fit to have you traveling through Ohio on your way home from New York when Samuel, Grace and Spencer were born.  You were able to see them, hold them and be there with me when we said goodbye to them.  It meant the world to me to have you there.  You held me – you were my rock.  I couldn’t have made it through without you.

You came to visit after Eli was born.  You wanted so badly to see your nephew.  You could hardly wait to meet him.  You were thrilled to be his Godmother.  He was your “Baby before your baby”.  That’s what you always called him.  It meant the world to me.

You had Jason call me when you were in labor with Caleb.  He sounded so worried because you were preterm.  I talked him through – I returned the favor you had given me 2 years prior.  I hopped in my car and sped to Iowa City to be there to meet my nephew in the NICU.  We smiled when we realized how much he looked like Spencer.  It was amazing.  We discussed being mommies and how special it all was.

You came after Keegan was born.  You were a part of watching him grow.

Now our visits included children.  Boys who were cousins that we wanted to be close to each other.  It was so much fun to see them grow to love each other.

You announced you were getting married.  You were so very happy.  You asked me to be a part of your day and I was truly honored.  I loved watching you walk down the aisle and joining hands with someone you truly loved.  And the dancing after the wedding was priceless.

Then came the diagnosis, changes in lifestyle and eventually invasive treatment.  Your body grew weak.  The cancer was taking over.  You called me to come be with you.  I dropped everything and sped to Iowa once again.

We talked about what you wanted.  It was time for you and your body to be at peace.  I hated saying goodbye to you but was fortunate to have the opportunity to say goodbye.  I held your hand.  I told you I would make sure that Jason and Caleb were ok.  Late that night you reached your hands to heaven and closed your eyes one final time.

When I arrived at the hospital you were gone.  I kissed your forehead.  I know you saw it, but I couldn’t feel you there anymore.

Today you would have turned 32.  Two years since I had to be kind to you on your 30th birthday because I knew in my heart it would be your last.

I know you are with me everyday.  I had a dream last night that I got to see you.  It’s the first time since you died that I’ve actually seen you in a dream.  I got to hug you.  When I woke up you were gone.  I got 2 sweet hugs from your amazing nephews and I knew they came from you.

I miss you my dear sister.  Life has gone on without you but you are never far from my thoughts.

Party tonight and enjoy a margarita or two!  And, please, give those babies of mine a giant kiss and hug from their mommy.

Happy Birthday sis.  I love you.

About Brotherly Love

I am a mom, partner, teacher and a lover of life. I have two fabulous boys who define my life as I know it. One of my children has been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, Asperger's and anxiety disorder. I blog as much about him as I do about my life and the lives of my immediate family.
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6 Responses to Thirty-two

  1. akbutler says:

    oh Heather! You have to give a “tissue alert!” I’m so teary here, and I’ve read it twice.
    another amazing tribute to your beautiful sister.

  2. ((you)) Thanks for sharing your memories of her with us today. She sounds like a helluva great girl. xo

  3. Elastamom says:

    What a beautiful soul and beautiful tribute.

  4. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Heather, my tears are flowing reading about the good times with your beautiful sister. I’m crying for your dear babies, for your sister having to leave her son, for him losing his mother, and for you to be without your sister. You have endured so much loss in past years. Hopefully the future will bring so much joy. You deserve it.

  5. Kate says:

    No words, just love.

  6. Debbi Henry says:

    Aww Heather, this is just beautiful. This paints an amazing picture of your sister and your love for each other. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us.

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