When the jonquils bloom in the spring, I think of her–my sister Helen. Maybe it’s because of her March birthday, maybe it’s because those first flowers are so welcome after winter and are such a cheerful sight. My sister was a cheerful, upbeat, lovely person.

Some people make the world a better place simply by being. She was one of those. If someone had a problem, she did her best to fix it. There were no halfway measures for Helen. She lived by the adage, “If you want a job done right, do it yourself.” Her home and her children shone with the love she lavished upon them.

We had a lot of fun together. When she and Ray and the children came to Mom’s to visit, it was a busy, happy time. We’d talk and giggle about anything and everything. No time to be unhappy, no time to be wasting when Helen was around. 

I remember the road trip she and I took,  through part of Texas. The bluebells were blooming. The day was sunny and perfect. We decided to check out some of those beautiful, empty old houses we saw along the way. One house in particular looked mysterious. Who had lived there? What did the inside look like? Why would someone just move away and leave a lovely house like this? We decided to stop and find out.

We pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and hurried up onto the porch. The window was clouded. We peered through and two eyes peered back at us. We backed away and lost no time jumping back into the car. Lesson learned: some houses that look vacant, aren’t.

She had a lively sense of humor and an infectious laugh. When we couldn’t get together, we talked on the phone. And, we wrote letters. I still have a special letter or two that she wrote, and lots of birthday cards.

When Mom died, we were like lost children and Helen said, “We’ll remember the good times.” Well, Sis, now you’re gone and I’m still here but I’ll re-read the verse on one of your birthday cards, “It’s nice to have a sister who is just the perfect blend of a warm and loving person and a very special friend!”  That was you, Sis. I’m thankful for the gift of being your sister. And, I’ll try very hard to blink away the tears and remember all the good times.

She was dignified; she was fun. She was a practical person and also a dreamer. She was never loud or boisterous but wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. I grew up thinking she was pretty much always right. My opinion hasn’t changed. If we could sit down today for a cup of coffee and a chat, I’d tell her how privileged I was to have her as my sister.

Today is far from Childhood —
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter —
Which shortened all the miles –

Emily Dickinson




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