For My Sister

Tonight I wanted to share something for Annette—eldest of my three siblings. I started to write a poem but couldn’t go beyond one stanza:

Giants walk among us, rarely do we perceive
The gifts they bear few of us receive
Gently they lift us, high enough to see
Together they take us to a better place to be

I had hoped to express my feelings this sad day, and perhaps you can catch where the sentiment would have gone. Annette was too easily taken for granted, and we all expected her to be longer among us. Rather, an atomic bomb exploded in our midsts today—a terrorist attack on our hearts. The shockwave spreads outward as each family member is informed, and the emotional equivalent of nuclear winter chills each heart. 

We will heal, and remember. Some of us will regret not engaging her as much as her sweet soul deserved. To my parents, I express deepest, wrenching sympathy. No mother, no father should be forced to outlive their child. I am a pathetic uncle to all my nieces and nephews and so lack authority to offer anything. But I will: Be proud, and make your parents prouder of you.

The loss I can attest to is from her sisters. “The Girls” we called them growing up. Nanette is the younger fraternal twin, writing on Facebook this evening: “How does one go on when the other half of your whole is no longer there?” Laurette is one year and three days younger. She shares: “I have lost a part of myself. The big sister who protected me, sheltered me, shared hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, who loved me without question”. So often the Girls were one soul, rather than three.

I chose the photo of Annette, because it’s how I best remember her—and with the simple, candid portrait the four of us together, on a Sunday visit to our grandparent’s farm. Those were the happiest days.

Six years ago, my cousin Dan Wilcox emailed the pic (taken by my uncle Glenn) with a treasure trove of others. I can’t date the image, but my guess is early 1970s, because we had our miniature dachshund Susie with us.

For my sister, no words are appropriate. I lived too far away for too long. You deserved a better brother. I should have seen how much you were a giant among us. Now the earth stills where your heart shook it—and at last I understand how big was your presence.

Photo Credit: Glenwood Wilcox