Today is my sister's birthday.
Any extant rules that say description requires a "was" her birthday, or "would have been... " or "should have been" her birthday?
I remember you, my dear sister. You were good to me, so I remember you that much better.
I still love you.
I miss you.
I remember you and smiles, and countless good hugs resulting from an achievement, an attainment. For sure, you encouraged me. Where your mother believed that the majority of motivation is borne of criticism and withholding of praise, you chose the opposite. Your way worked out better.
As your mother saw value in paroxyms of physical rage, your oldest sister grew up to do precisely and mathematically the opposite with her own children. You never got to have a family of your own, or the chance to do the same.
You were smart AND no less, you were bright, and enjoyed what must be described as a really cool sense of humor. We'd crack up and laugh at the same things. We enjoyed the same great movies, panned the same, and we both loved comic books, and most all of the same tv shows, except Batman, sharing a particular lean towards humor, persistently drinking from the many wells of belly laughing.
Don't think I don't remember when you came back from the mall that time and handed me that slim, crisp, brown paper bag, and and told me to take it and to get out of your face. C'mon... did you really think I wouldn't remember sliding out John Lennon's "Imagine" and remember how it felt to receive a gift from someone in the middle of the summer, for no reason, other than knowing that I'd gone bonkers for that particular song although I knew hundreds of songs by heart? That was one cool gift, creating the foundation of at least a thousand "nothing" gifts I've given in the intervening years. that's been one of my five greatest pleasures in life, giving gifts to people for no other reason than believing they're going to feel happier for it, whether it was a Hershey's Kiss or an imported sports car.
All because of a "no reason" gift in the middle of a formative summer. Thanks, sister. Perhaps the only redemptive feature of the pain of your departure is that you've never stopped being cool and non-judgmental, never stopped hugging and encouraging, just frozen in the moment of a summer's darkest earliest morning containing those heart-wrenching words that stop us in our tracks. Change is forever, isn't it?
Who can understand such great moments, moments of great joy, moments of great sadness? How many of us who define "dysfunctional family units" luck out with one good and healthy sibling relationship? When I came home from the service and moved to the city you were in, you stayed the course in sisterly style.
You, and Ritchie, truck driver and mentsch, such an eminently decent pair of good friends, both welcomed and boosted me along, even driving across town to drag me out of bed on Sunday mornings so we could both go drag Ritchie out of bed to hit the pancake houses with gusto and laughing, political diatribes and ridicule, comraderie and powerful influence on the rest of my life. So much of what I came to enjoy and share with others was a direct result of your influence. How wasteful that you only got to share that with a handful of people, not enough, for sure. Not enough, not enough.
Wherever you are, if there should actually be a heaven, a place where humans can see out upon us, please know that I know it's your birthday, and I want to say "Happy Birthday, " and if you actually and literally receive this message, then I hope someday we get to blow out some candles together, and share another good laugh session about whatever is currently comical. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the boost, thanks for lighting numerous paths.