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