My sister Deb had this thing about 11:11. She and Clay (BIL) even went to Vegas one November day to bet on 11. Now whenever I see 11:11, I think of her and know she’s with me. If you’re FB friends with me or any of my siblings or nieces/nephs, you might see us post about it. In the past couple of months, I’ve looked at the clock to see 11:11 more times than I can count. I know she’s with me. I fully believe she’s trying to tell me something. Lots of butterflies have been floating by too. I know you’re with me, Deb.
I miss her. God how I miss her. She was my big sister. She helped shape the person I am today. She was the glue amongst the siblings of a blended family. She was our queen. She taught us all how to laugh at ourselves. I remember her baby shower with her oldest. I remember the day (Little) Clay was born. I remember teaching him how to walk singing “tiptoe through the tulips.” I remember making him say his version of “truck” over and over because our 15, 11, and 9 year old selves thought it was so hilarious. I remember watching her and my mom in the kitchen drinking their wine, talking about motherhood, cooking, laughing. I remember Christmas Eves, birthdays in the park, sleepovers, she and her “Spouse” taking my brother skiing. I remember her being there for my brother when a big move was overwhelming for him. I remember her being there for my Daddy when he and my mom split up. I remember her being there for my brother when his first marriage broke apart. I remember her being there for me first when we couldn’t get pregnant and then when things went horribly wrong with our first baby.
Deb was Daddy’s Girl #1. I was Daddy’s Girl #2. I knew my place. I loved my place. Now she’s gone, and I feel the pressure to live up to the big empty space she has left. I feel a need to be that glue. I feel a need to be what she was…a comfort, an ear, a huge heart, queen of the smartasses, the reminder that family is first. I am afraid to even begin knowing I will never live up to the legacy she left. She was so good at it. Even in the midst of her battle with cancer, she taught us all how to deal. Even when she knew the end was coming, she helped us all say goodbye. She gave us her peace. How can I ever live up to her grace?
My prayer is that when I go, people will say even half the things they said about her. She wasn’t perfect….none of us is. But dang it, she was close. I still hear her when I’m afraid….be a “brave girl.” I try, Deb, to be brave. Sometimes I fail. I know you would have been the first to call when Ethan was diagnosed. I know what you would have said. I know you would have loved him the same after as before. I know talking to you would give me the courage to be the mom I need to be.
I read “Heaven is for Real” on the plane last week. I cried buckets. I didn’t care the people around me saw those tears. In reading it, I knew two things: 1) the baby we miscarried is up there waiting for us to meet and name him/her; and 2) Deb is up there, sitting on Jesus’ lap, talking to God, watching over us, hanging with Grandpa Willis. I know she will be there to greet me when I go. And when I get there and see her, she will show me the way, the same she did here.
11:11 – I saw it again today. I’m listening, Deb. I know you’re here. I miss you every day as much as the first day.