My Sister

Today was my sister’s Memorial.  It brought family and friends together, Even friends from our childhood and colleagues from the past attended..  Sweet music, a quiet ambiance, and an Irish poem filled the air with remembrance of Emmy.  I wrote and recited this poem.

My Sister

As a toddler, I was told she was special.
Special? What does that mean?
I thought she was just like me.

So, of course as a child does,
I gave her dirty looks,
stuck my tongue out at her,
pulled her hair,
hit her over the head,
and ate candy out of her toys.

She was my older sister,
my only sibling, then.
Isn’t that what you did?

During our childhood years, Emmy
went away.
In those days,
it seemed the course of action.
Went to live somewhere else.

I didn’t ask too many questions comforted that our parents were visiting her.

Why did she leave us? I wondered . . .
but not enough to ask.

I didn’t think so much about my sister.

Emmy was coming home!
Change was in the air.
School for her like school for me
What was so special about that?

I found myself pondering,

What was different about her?
What was she trying to say?
Did she like me?
What was her favorite toy, color, food?

Inquisitive of her nature
my questions grew
Is that what they meant by saying Emmy was special?
In ways we sometimes
do not understand?

Emmy as inspiration,
I set out for some answers.
Spending time with her
in activities,
choosing teaching as a career.

In adulthood,
my sister once again
relocated permanently to a place she called “camp”.
“I like camp”, she would say.
A home, her home
One we felt might meet her needs.
friends aplenty
activities abound
She became part of a new family,
We so hoped she would be happy.

Now in reflection,
I ask myself,
What have I learned?

We are all special in one way
or another
Emmy, perhaps more . . .

Emmy was:

Someone who offered us life lessons that an entire Nation could learn.

Someone who challenged us, at times, to our wits end.

Someone who knew a language all her own,
and asked us to figure it out.

Someone who knew what she wanted and when she wanted it
even if it didn’t make sense the way we thought it should.

Yes, I finally knew what they meant.
Emmy WAS special.

Traveling through the years I’ve learned something else found right here
within my own heart.

To me, what matters most.

I know that I loved my sister.
And, truly what matters more than that?

 

We loved her smile.

Roses for her daughter

 Emmy and Fifi

Reading one of Emmy’s letters . . .

gorgeous calla lilies from dear friends

A memory board, one of two, made by family

Beautiful cut flowers from in-laws 

Family and friends

Floral spray from Claddagh Commission

Emmy had Down Syndrome.  She was 61.