My Sister, My Friend…

and now she’s gone…

on the boardwalk

on the boardwalk

I have been putting off writing this as I knew it would be painful for me. Next week would be my sister Rhonda’s 60th birthday and she won’t be here to celebrate it. 60 is a big milestone and I know we would have done it right, lunch or dinner and of course our favorite thing, shopping. But that is not to be.

I was 6 when Rhonda was born and I really didn’t want a sibling. I enjoyed being an only child and all that goes with it and I had plenty of friends and I didn’t want that to change. But she was so cute and she idolized me.. so it was ok.

Don’t get me wrong, we had our moments… and they weren’t always good ones. She followed me around like a puppy. Always wanting to be included in my circle of friends and what we were doing. But we were grown up kids and we didn’t want a little kid following us everywhere and getting in the way. But of course Mom said we had to include her and so we did.

I was a little rough on her at times(ok, a lot of times) but it never deterred her from loving me and being my best friend and supporter. She had this little dog that you would wind up and it did flips. She was deathly scared of it so we kept it in the basement. I would tell her I needed her to come see something and I would make the dog jump at her as soon as she came down the steps. She would cry and run back up to tell Mom what I had done. Five minutes later I would call her to come back down promising not to do it again. I told her I had hid the dog and begged for her to just come down and play. She would of course and I of course had the dog out and she would run screaming back up the stairs. This would go on for hours sometimes. And the worse part(or the best part depending on how you look at it) is she truly believed me when I said I wouldn’t do it again. She loved me that much.

Rhonda was always the “good” one. I was the bad one. I got in trouble and she never did. I was always jealous of that. It didn’t matter who did anything, I was the one who got blamed for it. Mom would say, “you are the oldest and you should know better.” So I would get in trouble and Rhonda would not. I hated that I had curly hair and she had beautiful wavy hair. I hated that she got to do things I was never allowed to do. I hated that Mom dressed us in matching outfits. I thought she was my parents favorite. I asked them much later in life and they said definitely not, but I still think she was.

matching outfits

matching outfits

I got married very young and left the house. That was a hard time for her so I had her over to our place a lot and she helped me with my daughter who by the way was only 10 years younger than her. They were very close, friends instead of aunt and niece and always remained that way.  My husband at the time worked nights so she was my companion and confidant during those long nights. We would make spaghetti and drive around town in my VW. When I divorced my husband, Rhonda was there to help me with the kids. We took them to the beach and she helped make things somewhat normal and fun for them at a time when they were very confused. We had great times together back then. I miss those days. And I miss her.

When she got married and had her own two girls she was truly in heaven. All she ever wanted was to be married and have a family like me. She talked about it all the time growing up. At night in our bedroom upstairs we would share stories about what we wanted our lives to be like some day and her story was always about getting married and having kids. She loved kids and kids loved her. So when she finally had her own she was the happiest person ever. Rhonda loved her girls so much, more than her own life. We spent many family vacations together at the beach, our parents, her kids and mine. I was happy for her and enjoyed seeing her girls grow up into beautiful young women. Rhonda was so proud of them. They were all she ever talked about. One of our last visits together she spent talking to me about her girls.

Rhonda was the best person I ever knew. She never had a harsh word to say about anyone and always had a friendly hello and smile for everyone she came in contact with. I knew this about her but it was at her funeral that I truly found out just how much she was loved and how many people’s lives she had affected. Their shared stories overwhelmed me and I vowed after she passed to try and find the good. I knew she did and she proved that over and over. So every day I post a “good story” on my Facebook page in her honor. Some days they are hard to find amongst all the political junk and the terrible things happening in the world. But I find one even if it takes a few hours. I do it for Rhonda. And I do it for me, I need to see that there are good people out there doing good things every day.

She was the best friend you could ever have or wish to have. She was not just my sister, she was my friend. She also had one special person in her life besides me that was like a sister to her. It was a neighbor and they grew up together. Since I was older and married she needed a friend to be there for her and that friend was Connie. I was glad she had her.

I miss my sister so much. I miss being able to pick up the phone and talk to her. I miss the fun times we had together laughing at something stupid until we were crying and not even remembering what we were laughing about in the first place. I miss her smile. But most of all I miss her laugh. There are so few really “good” people in this world. And the world is less without her.

Have you lost someone that made a big impact on your life?

“The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.”

~ Cali Rae Turner

 

 

46 thoughts on “My Sister, My Friend…

  1. The best part of cell phones has been that I talk with my sister almost daily. Thank you for helping me
    to appreciate what we have in life

  2. What a great post. Although sad, it made me miss the sister relationship that I had with my twin sister. You see we are very different so we have drifted apart, I know that I can count on her and hopefully she knows that she can count on me but we don’t communicate or do things together any longer. I am sorry for your loss but it sounds like you had an awesome relationship.

    1. Thank you so much…We did have a great relationship…And I hope you can renew your relationship with your sister…life is so short!

  3. Such beautiful words to honor your sister. I met her once briefly and wish I’d gotten to know her better. I do understand your love for her. My sister and I are ten years apart, but she has always helped me through my ups and downs in life. Like you and Rhonda had the big age gap, but formed a beautiful bond despite the age difference. Yes, we had ups and downs, but can pick up the phone and talk like we just saw each other. She lives in Michigan and we text each other messages – sometimes strange ones that only sisters can understand – 🙂 When I went through my yuck 15 years ago she was the first person I told and it was amazing how my little sister helped to point me in the righ direction. When I remarried I asked her to be my maid-of-honor, thinking that being eight months pregnant at the time of the wedding AND having to travel with her three boys from MIchigan she’d hesistate. When I asked, she instantly said, “Absolutely!” Sisters bring so much joy because of our amazing past and many sweet memories. I hope that your happy memories of Rhonda will help you with her birthday and the many many other events that can make your heart hurt. <3

    1. Thank you Beth! I’m glad you have your sister, there is nothing like a sister who is also a friend. I am blessed with many friends who are like sisters to me and always there if I need them..and you are one of them..

  4. As you well know, you & I share this terrible heartache – your losing dear Rhonda & me losing my dear, little brother the month before. I’m sure Jed was waiting for Rhonda at the Pearly Gates – to welcome her into the Heavenly Home we all hope to share. Rhonda, like you said, NEVER had a bad thing to say about anyone. Her laugh was infectious & she was always smiling & laughing – we couldn’t help but love her. What you saw was what you got with Rhonda! There was nothing ‘phoney’ about her! She was who she was & you loved her for it. Always ready to help in any way she could! She was kind & thoughtful to a fault! I’m sure this was hard for you to write but I really enjoyed reading your memories. Sharing helps with the healing. The picture of the two of you on the beach is just priceless!! Two beautiful sisters! Thank you, Renee!! LU

    1. Thank you Dinah! I know you know how hard this is. And it was hard to write it, but it felt good doing it and really helped me to get through this month! Thank you for being there for me. Love you too!

  5. I am so sorry you lost your dear sister. I never had a sister so I can’t relate to those dynamics….however the description of your relationship was beautiful. I love the way you honor her by posting good stories. We need more of that. Thanks for telling us about her.

  6. You are soooo right, Renee. I never saw Rhonda without a big smile on her face. She kept right on smiling while she was talking. She was such a positive person. She is up there just thrilled that you are giving everyone a positive story everyday, so we can smile or have happy tears. I must say, Renee, you were a little pistol with that toy dog.

  7. The two of you were and are so lucky to have had each other! I have a sister but she stopped talking to me 25 years ago and I expect that will never change. (Her husband is abusively controlling.) I so envy the friend/sister relationship. From what I’ve heard there’s almost nothing better. My daughters are so close with each other, I can see it’s true in their lives.

    1. Oh, deborah I am so sorry to hear that. I had 2 cousins this happened to and it was very sad…I am happy that your daughters are close, mine are too!

  8. Such a beautiful tribute to your sister. I am so sorry for your loss and hoping that in sharing your stories of her you are healing and able to feel her love for you too.

  9. I absolutely love the way you honor your sister by looking for, then sharing, that which is good in the world. How right you are it can be tough to find. How lucky to have had a best friend in your sister, clearly she remains in your heart, I can’t think of a better way to keep a persons soul alive.

  10. Oh, gosh. You must miss her so much. I loved reading your whole piece, and I thank you for sharing your story. I love that you keep her influence alive by forcing yourself to look for the good, each day. I know our world would be a different and better place if more people did that. Gratitude changes people. It has changed me. It has changed you.

    1. Thank you Susan! It has changed me and you are right, if only more people would have gratitude the world would be a better place.

  11. I know this had to be so hard to write. Anytime someone we love leaves us too soon it is just such a terrible shock!! We weren’t ready!!! It just doesn’t seem fair!
    We had so many more moments we wanted to share! I believe Rhonda can see and hear you and knows your heart! She is watching over you with your Mom and Dad! She is watching Shelly and her own girls. Someday you will all be together and this painful hurt will be erased. You, Renee, find JOY and you definitely give JOY to others!!You are blessed. Thanks for being my friend! ( even though you sometimes yell at me)!

    1. Thank you Joanie! You made me cry even more than I was before. I am blessed with wonderful friends and so glad I can call you my “Sis”…and I only yell at those I care about…

  12. Awww, that’s so sweet. I never had a sister, 3 brothers, so it just wasn’t the same, but I can’t imagine what it will be like, when I lost any of them. Happy early birthday in Heaven Rhonda…you are missed here on earth. Love ya Renee. Had to laugh though, your daughter being 10 years younger, hahaha. You were the BAD GIRL, hahaha.

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