It is times like these when having Alzheimer's isn't such a bad thing.
At least our Mother didn't experience the heartbreak of losing a child.
When my husband said "Let me get a picture of the three of you", we graciously got together and then I lost it COMPLETELY. As I put my arm around Mom, looked at Kathie, my heart sank. I pulled my arm down and said "I can't do it." Kathie made some comments, telling me it was going to be OK (She is so amazing and is always the one that appears to be holding it totally together allthewhile her heart is breaking on the inside as for me, well, I wear my heart on my sleeve.) I tried to pull myself together enough to get a picture of 'the girls', but it just didn't feel right. It wasn't till I looked at these pictures last month that I realized Tennie was in fact in the picture with us. She is the little girl in the picture on the mantel.
I'm including what I said at my sisters "Celebration of Life" ceremony.
Read it if you choose.
Hi I am Trish, Tennies favorite baby sister. Today we have a few people that would like to come up and share stories with you about our sister. Some will be sad, some will be funny, some will sing, some won't be able to get through what they want to say, and if you know anything about our you know some will try to preach a 2 hour sermon. I have asks them not to please not do that.
So I am going to get things started for you today.
Tennie was not only my sister but also my friend.
She wasn't ready. She didn't want to go. This was the hardest part. She just told Kathie that she had too much to live for. Charlie. Charlie was her world. She was so flipping excited to be a grandma, or 'Nonnie' as she preferred.
As I was packing my bag to fly to Texas the phone rang. It was Stacy. I knew instantly. When I answered the phone instead of saying 'hello' I said 'she's gone, isn't she?' Stacy didn't speak words at first, she only cried. So I did what any good aunt would do and I cried with her and let her tell her story. What I have learned in my 44 years is that every single person has a story. I listened to her and cried with her. And now since I have you all held captive, you are about to hear a small portion of my story with my sister as as I remember it.
Although my heart physically hurts right now it helps knowing that my sister is pain free. She hurt for far too long. She was a fighter and I mean that in every sense of the word. But really when you think about it she had no other choice, I mean when you have 7 brothers it is kind of sink or swim...and she never sank - she fought hard till the end. She fought cancer with everything she had, she fought to live, she fought for Charlie. She wanted to see him turn 1, and she almost made it. It breaks my heart and fills my heart with joy knowing she was holding Charlie's foot as she took her last breath. I think Tennie passed near his birthday so Stacy would have something to celebrate and would not be as focused on the grief. The last words she spoke were to Stacy. She said "I love you and keep trusting in God'.
Today I want to share some things with you about my sister.
Some things you already know, some you might not....sit back and enjoy the ride down memory lane:
From my earliest memories I knew Tennie was tough. She was a fighter. And I know this because she took much of her aggression out on me. When we were little we were either playing and having a great time, or she was kicking my backside.
Sometimes this happened simultaneously.
Some of my favorite memories are:
*Playing baseball in the field by our house while trying not to land on bull nettles. If you don't know what bull nettles are, you are not from Texas and you should ask my Colorado husband about them.
*Laying on cots in the backyard listing to the Rangers game with our and Daddy.
*Picking fresh fruit off the trees and bushes in our backyard for our after school snacks.
*Tennie rolling me around in the big washing machine drum in our backyard.
*When we use to try to dig our own swimming pool in the back yard. We would dig the biggest hole we could, line it with plastic and fill it with water and then splash around in muddy water.
*Our pet ducks.
*Rubber band fights in the living room.
*Watching Frankenstein movies with her. She was always so brave.
*Our pink walls and red carpet....and secretly giggling over how much Melba HATED it!!!
*Very carefully Unwrapping our Christmas gifts before Christmas an re-wrapping them so no one would know.
*Acting surprised on Christmas morning.
*Her hugging me and telling me it was going to be OK when Daddy died.
*Winning my first and only fight with her.....( I ran after 'my win' and didn't come back for a few hours)
*Her being there when I had my first child.
*She visited almost every time we moved - which was a lot !!!
*She flew across the world to see me when I lived in Korea the first time.
*She was always there when Jeremy deployed.
*How well she took care of our Momma.
*How close we became in the past 3 years.
*Knowing she was always there for me if I ever needed her.
*Spending two precious weeks with her in the hospital -- walking with Rick, making outrageous goals and just being there.
Some of my least favorite memories:
*She made me eat mud pies. And I am talking DIRT AND WATER people, dirt and water.
*Eating our pet ducks for Easter dinner-- true story.
*Almost getting kidnapped when riding bikes between our house and Paul's house. I still remember the truck....ask me later.
*Her shooting me with rubber bands and leaving huge welts on me.
*Her nailing me with a shovel on the nose while digging our swimming pool...or was that David??
*Scary stories she would tell me in our room late at night totally freaking me out.
*When I thought she and David had been kidnapped...I ran home FREAKING out. (Yes I have always been dramatic)
*Daddy teaching us to kill and skin a rabbit -- she liked it WAY more than I did.
*Her kicking my backside over and over.
To my favorite niece Stacy, sorry Connie, Kristin, Melissa or any other niece in the chapel, but Stacy wins today. I promised your mom I would be here for you and Charlie. (BTW, Thanks for letting me name him) AND I will always will.
Tennie, you left us way too early,
But I can only imagine the reunion you are having with Daddy.
Rest in peace my sister...rest in peace.
I love you.