Today, is October 27th, 2020. Today is my sister’s birthday. She would have been 51 today. But that was not to be. Amy died just about 4 and 1/2 months ago, on June 15th. And this is my 4th attempt to write my feelings about this. This one got published.
Amy and I were the only siblings in our small family. She was just 27 months older than me, and we were 2 years apart in school. And like most brother and sisters we didn’t always get along. Though I was younger, I picked on Amy ruthlessly when we were kids. I was, and still am, a major smart ass, and she beared the brunt of that growing up. She was, until the day she died, very easy to have her ‘buttons pushed’ And push them I did - a lot.
As we grew up and we matured (well at least she did) we got closer, and the teasing eased a bit. She became friends with my girlfriend, and eventual wife. They worked at a local park summer camp together, they played volleyball together, they went on vacations together. She treated Kathy as part of her family and welcomed her as a sister. Something I never thanked her for. She was the maid of honor in our wedding. Amy and her husband, Larry, are God parents to our kids, and Amy was very involved in our kids lives growing up. We hit the road for Birmingham to watch our beloved Bearcats. We took family vacations, and spent every holiday, birthday, and special occasion together.
Amy was a teacher, a coach, an advocate, and a major pain in the ass. The stories shared by her co-workers, former students, and friends relayed an impact that I am not certain she ever knew she had - or at least one her own self image prevented her from seeing. And onto that last point…Amy WAS a major pain in the ass. She would rarely back down her opinion to appease anyone. She would fight for her students, she would tell a friend when they hurt her, and she would fight with me over any and every topic we could find. (Don’t tell her, but many times I would take the opposite side just to get her going!) She wasn’t perfect by any stretch, and many of the things that made her a great teacher and strong advocate were the very things that could annoy the hell out of me on any given day! That is what makes people….people.
I believe she is in a better place. I know her suffering is over, and she is watching over us, and will always be with us. But damn I am sad. I am not sad for the past, I am sad for the future. I am sad for my kids who won't see her smiling face and the sheer pride and pure love she had for them. I am sad for all of their life milestones she will not be present for. I am sad for the things we will not get to celebrate with her. I am sad, because of what will never be, not because of what was.
As I reflect over the past 4 months and come to grips with her passing, I realize that I could and should have been a better brother. I could have told her I loved her more often, I could have made more time for her in our busy life, I could have supported her more, and fought with her less. I should have pushed on her more to make the changes she needed to make. She may have hated me for it, but she might be here today. I don’t feel guilty for these past decisions that I can't change, but I do feel regret. And regret sucks.
Sunday we celebrated her birthday with a trip to the cemetery, a nice dinner, and some dessert, parts were sad, and parts were fun, overall it was a very nice and enjoyable day with family. But it wasn’t the same - it can never be the same, but such is life and we move on. Happy Birthday Amy.