Tonight I just want to spend a little time reflecting in one of my sister’s birthdays. Today is her birthday, the only thing is, she isn’t around to see it. She died a few years ago. That wasn’t supposed to happen. She is the youngest of the four of us, and you kind of figure that she would outlive us all. But life, and death, seem to have a way of surprising us. It seems like we should know better. I mean, the older we get, the more we should realize that nothing is set in stone, and everything is subject to change.
I loved my sister, although I probably didn’t show it very much. She was the youngest, and always was sort of a pest for me while I was in high school and college. Growing up, she always seemed to be on the edge of getting in trouble, but never quite making it. She was very lovable and always playful. She was always out for fun, and could usually find it. Being her older brother, I wound up driving her around a lot when she was in the early years of High School. That probably did a lot to damage our relationship. I remember when we lived in Loch Lomond. I lived down in the basement and all three sisters were upstairs in their bedrooms. I was so glad to be downstairs and out of the daily drama that happens between sisters.
In college, Thurla would come with some of her friends and crash some of our fraternity parties. She was welcome by everyone but me and I didn’t want her there. I just didn’t want my sister around me in college. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, but I probably did. Anyway, Thurla did one very special thing for me. She got me a blind date with Julia. They had worked together at Six Flags. I normally wouldn’t have anything to do with any of Thurla’s friends. But for some strange reason this night I accepted the date. The rest is history. So I owe Thurla a lot, and for many years I tried to make it up to her. I did love her, but continually I found myself judging her. Today, I would be much different. But Julia and I both loved her and tried to work with her.
We especially loved her husband Emory. Emory was a fine man and he really loved Thurla. He seemed to bring out all the best parts, and was very patient with her when the she wasn’t as good. They had two sons, Gil and Matt. Both boys grew up to be fine young men and I love them both. But Emory was killed in an accident on I 285 and that seemed to knock Thurla’s life for a loop. In fact it was such a loop she never seemed to fully recover.
Life sometimes doesn’t play out the way we anticipate it and that was the case with my sister’s. She was so loving and would do anything for you. Her idea was always to help. She had more love to give than I will ever have. I loved her, and miss her. Today is her birthday, and I want to honor her memory. I remember talking with her right before she died. Her focus was on us and her two boys. She wanted them to have everything that she had been unable to give them. She had raised them as a single mother for most of their lives, and she had done a good job. They didn’t get everything that they wanted, but they got love, and a lot of what they needed from her.
So, Sis, tonight I honor you and close this by just saying Happy Birthday! On the really important things, you did pretty good!