My mom's sister died last night. My mother was in the room along with my aunt's youngest son when she passed. I had visited a few hours prior to check on my mom and say goodbye to my favorite aunt. As I watched my strong beautiful mother gently brush back the hair from her sister's face, I was reminded of how I always used to sign the notes I wrote to my friends in junior high with LYLAS (love you like a sister). The closing was meant to convey how close the friendship was, but .... is there anyone that shares the bond that sisters do?
I am the youngest of four; my sister is the oldest. Personality theorists would say that birth order is what defines our relationship. They would be wrong. My sister was my first role model. I wanted to be exactly like her. Lynn was beautiful and cool and amazing. To her, I was a brat. Because there were two boys and two girls in my family, we had to share a room. She became a teenager when I was 6. She would lock me out of the room and only allow me in to sleep. The movies would have portrayed that I resented this; I didn't. It made me imagine all sorts of adventures that she must be planning on the other side of the door. I read her magazines; I read her books. I wanted to be the cool teenager that she was; she ignored me. As the youngest child, I spoke baby talk when I started school. Lynn promptly told all her friends I was mentally challenged. No one ridiculed me because there was a rule against mocking a disabled child. She also told them that I was adopted.... At night though, in the darkness, she would talk quietly to me. She would ask me about my day. She would let me creep into her bed to sleep when the scary movie she had finally let me watch proved to be too scary for my little six year old mind. I knew she loved me.
Lynn married her high school sweetheart when I was 12. I sobbed throughout the entire ceremony. Not graceful tears that leaked from my eyes... Big gulping sobs. My sister was leaving me. She didn't though. Lynn would pick me up for sleepovers, send me encouragement cards in the mail, and let me wear makeup. I knew she missed me too.
Lynn and I have taken vacations together with our children, camped together, shopped together, gossiped together. We have had screaming matches and not spoken for weeks. We have inside jokes and call each other whenever one of us has a secret that we cannot share with anyone else on this earth. We are each others worst critics and fiercest protectors. We laugh and laugh and laugh over stupid stuff. She can make me cry quicker than anyone. She is the other half of me.
My mother will bury her sister this week. My heart hurts for her. I don't even want to imagine losing my forever friend. Friendships end; sisterhood doesn't.