“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
This quote truly summarizes the last twenty-four years of my life. It’s the perfect fit for my first blog post. The years can be dark, but light shines its way through friendships, celebrations, and new beginnings.
June 30, 1993 was the last time I spoke with my only sister, Stephanie. We were on the phone making plans for her birthday. We talked about going out to eat and seeing a new movie called, Benny and Joon. Before disconnecting we both said, “I love you.” Stephanie never made it home again after that night. She was murdered hours later, three days before her 20th birthday.
Stephanie’s absence is always felt during the Holidays and special milestones in life. But, it’s the “normal” moments that can hurt the most. I wish I could call her to go shopping, for a walk, or out for ice cream. I would love to call her to reminisce about our childhood and compare it to the lives of our children. I’m sure our kids would be close cousins. I often picture us living nearby, maybe in the same neighborhood. People would look at us and see that we are not only sisters, but best friends.
Sometimes I search through old photos hoping to find something more recent, or a photo I have never seen before. Time is tricky like that. However, when her life ended so did the pictures, the conversations and laughter. Some days I am not sure how I have made it through more than half my life without Stephanie. I believe the love I still have for my sister sees me through the darkest moments.
For the last 24 years, I have tried to honor Stephanie by embracing the life I’ve been given. She would not want me to miss out on the opportunities that were stolen from her. As her younger sister, I continue to look up to her and strive to attain and share the same joy she demonstrated in her 19 years on earth.