Today would have been my sister’s birthday.
She lived all her life with a tumor in her brain and severe epilepsy. It was a head injury she sustained during a seizure that ended her life eight years ago.
Although she was mentally disabled, my sister still found enjoyment in life.
She could sit and stitch little animals and cartoon characters for hours. Her exact likenesses of Snoopy always amazed me, especially when I hated embroidery work and was terrible at it.
She loved dogs of all shapes and sizes and most often had one. In her younger years, she belonged to a 4-H group that taught her how to train her dogs and she used that knowledge on all the dogs she owned during her lifetime.
I’d say she took pleasure in tormenting me, the baby sister who arrived fourteen years after she’d claimed that title. Until the day I finally realized my sister would never have a normal life by society’s standards and the reasons behind it, we often fought like, well, sisters.
She learned to play the guitar, admittedly not great, but she did better than I could in forcing her fingers into the positions required to make the chords on the strings. She’d sit in her room and strum away, practicing the songs her guitar instructor taught her to play.
My sister was a dreamer, always thinking about what ifs. She’d thumb through catalogs and magazines, rattling off ideas of what if we went there, or what if we got this or that item.
One of her biggest dreams was to travel to Graceland and see the home where Elvis Presley lived. My parents made that dream happen for her when I was eleven. They pulled me out of school for two weeks and we went on a cross country road trip. To be honest, being stuck in the backseat of the car with my sister for days on end was no picnic, but it was pretty cool to see the excitement on her face as we rolled into Memphis.
As you may have guessed, she was a huge fan of Elvis Presley. Her room was covered in Elvis posters, she had every record he ever recorded, she owned several Elvis dolls and could sing the lyrics from every single one of his songs. Every single one.
So in tribute to my sister, to celebrate her birthday, here is a little YouTube video of Elvis.
She Who Wishes She Could Say Happy Birthday One Last Time