What I have below is what I read at my sisters memorial service today. I wanted to “say” something, but didn’t think the words would come out right if I didn’t pen them first. It is a parallel post to my last- with some excerpts from “The Bucket List”. Hoping it will do my sisters memory justice.

I can’t even think of where to start- I want to say nothing, I want to say everything.

That little dash in between her birthdate and homecoming can’t begin to hold the enormity of who she was. Who she will live on as.

First and foremost, my sister was a believer- which changes the concept of today. I have to yet shed a tear for my sister since she passed- she doesn’t need them- she doesn’t want them. She is in paradise. She is walking streets of gold with ankles that bend and fingers that move with perfect fluidity.

That is not to say I haven’t shed tears- there have been many, as I’m sure there are to be many more. But the tears I cry are of the void she left.

Many, many memories I could share, but a few stick out in my mind.
My sister was a blond haired- blue eyed beauty that was full of joy and life. She was the second of my parents children- the first girl. I have been told she was a very cooperative child- very obedient and polite. When my sister was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I remember a conversation (she must have been in her late 20s) where she told me that she couldn’t ever remember a day without pain. It had always been a part of her life. Her joints were swollen and eventually some of them got so bad, she had to have them fused together. She had screws in her ankles and her neck was fused because of the degeneration of her cartilage. Though I can’t remember even a single time where she complained about this disease.

She was a singer- a beautiful singer. Most of the time I don’t think she believed it. But her children can attest that her version of “you are my sunshine” is the best I’ve ever heard.

She was a mother- in every sense of the word. Caregiver, chef, maid, and had the fiercest of love for her children. At 15 years older than I, I idolized her. And most she was worthy of. She taught her children the importance of the word. She instilled in them the self-confidence to take on the world. She was the giver of unconditional love.

She was a connoisseur of fine food- her favorite being the all-sought after McDonalds French Fries. But not just any fry, mind you. She would sit, pour out the fries and poke each one- if it was not soft, it went in the discard pile- otherwise known as “everyone else’s fries”. To this day- I don’t eat the soft ones, the crunchy ones are just much more to my liking. šŸ˜‰

She called me Bethy. And I hated it. I wanted to be grown up and the name “Bethy” screamed little girl to me. But I suppose that is my fault- I called her Angie. She wanted, no tried to be Angela- but you can’t very well drowned out the sound of a rambunctious 5 yr old screaming Angie!!! The last time I saw my sister – she whispered it to me- and I will never forget that sound. It brings me such joy now, that I had a name from only her.

Tuesday, for the first time ever- she experienced something she never had on this earth. She woke to no pain. She woke to no aching or twinges, without ankles that refused to bend and flex, there wasn’t a neck that doesn’t turn. She could bend her wrists and stretch her fingers with no limits. She could stand and walk and run and dance and sing- at the top of her lungs, sing. Like an angel. In her voice so pure and high. And Tuesday, and every day since, she sings- for the one and only that her voice was created for.

I’m sure many of you have stories of your own. Ones we will discuss this afternoon and things we will remember forever. Angela, you will be missed greatly- your smile, your hugs, you simple way of making us feel loved. And today, I am privileged to be the sister of a woman who has left such a rich legacy. One that we can all aspire to.