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.

20 responses to “My Sister”

  1. Nicely said, Holly.
    Colonial Ave was such a beehive of activity & I think Emmy enjoyed it. Am glad she loved the camp as well. People come into our lives for a purpose & help us grow & mature as God intended Fondly, Laverne


    • Laverne! (Of course, to me Mrs. Siters) ~ Greg and I have been catching up a bit. Good to hear you and Mr. Siters are doing well. We all loved that darn street, Mom still does. Yeah, guess Emmy had a job to do here on God’s green Earth. We are hoping she is now resting in peace.


  2. I think of all those fortunate students that benefitted from your teaching. If that were the only result of her inspiring you, that would be enough. I think she had a part in making you into a kind, caring and loving individual.


  3. How beautiful. My condolences. For a sister who held a special place in your heart, may your memories bring you peace and comfort.


  4. What a beautiful tribute to your sister. You’ve shown so well how every single life matters, how we are touched in so many ways by other people, and how each of us adds an irreplaceable colour to life’s tapestry. My condolences to you, Holly. Take care.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by

%d bloggers like this: