Right after Thanksgiving, my oldest sister died. If a death can be called beautiful, hers was. In her last hours, family and her special friend were at her side. She knew us early that morning, and we like to believe she heard and felt our prayers, our touch, our singing, the Christmas carols played in her ear, our putting lotion on her face and combing her hair. She was in no pain, without medication. She just slipped away.
This is my first sister to die and the one with whom I was closest.
I think Betty and I were cut from the same cloth. Some of the cloth used for Betty when she was born was laid aside, and then, 12 years later, Mama pulled it out and cut a similar pattern for me. Perhaps she knew.
Betty and I had a lot of similarities. We looked alike (but then all five of us girls look somewhat alike), we both liked genealogy, history, nature, painting, cats, people, books, coffee and walking. She had a neighborhood daily walk of over a mile. She would talk to everybody she met. (I must confess having a Face Book friend I met on an airplane.) I can’t claim as many cats as Betty had and probably don’t love cats as much as she did.
She had a six-year friendship with Kenny, whom she stopped to talk with as he worked in his yard. And, what a beautiful friendship it was to see, as he committed himself to her during her last several years with Alzheimer’s.
Mama always said Betty was ‘fractious.’ Whatever that word means. Mama also said Brother Theodore was ‘fractious’ and she even added Daddy to that list, too. I wonder if it was really Mama who was ‘fractious’? Whatever that word means.
I will say that I had a problem with the fact Betty’s hair never went all gray, whereas mine turned gray in my fifties. Haven’t gotten over that.
Betty’s sweet, sweet spirit will be missed. She was as good a sister as I could ever have, but all my sisters are good. She lived her faith, she loved her family. She loved her friends. My life was richer because of her.
I imagine she did her fancy clogging step along Heaven’s streets on her 87th birthday, which was just one day after her death.
There is hope when a believer dies.
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.