My Sister's Rings

My sister's rings.JPG

I have been missing my sister Ann the last couple of weeks. Ann died suddenly four years ago and none of us had the chance for that last conversation about goodbye. 

My mother always had a very practical view of death since she had seen it up close and personal when she lost her first husband in her 20’s. And as Christians, we view this life as the one that is temporary… and the next one is the good one to look forward to. If you aren’t familiar with that view, I will give you a few of Jesus’s words about it below. Rumor has it that Jesus defeated death and my family has always leaned hard into that truth.

As January, the month of my sister’s death leaves us, I am a little melancholy, and so I write about my sister Ann:

I will wear my sister’s rings.

The ones that once adorned her hands,

entering the room like a butterfly of color and light and determination.

She was my first call

         when Kathy was taking a turn for the worse,

         when Momma fell and hit her head and decided it was time to go home:

                  lying unconscious and unfamiliar 

                  in intensive care 

                  while I listened to Ann’s voice on the other end of the line.

She was the one who would make the travel arrangements for the wedding,

                  who would navigate the subways in New York,

         who would rent the car in Hawaii,

who would find the house at the beach. 

We didn’t acknowledge it too much

         but we well understood she was the smarter of the four

         and the more opinionated.

         A little bit scary,

         the only one who could keep up with Momma 

         in decibel and word usage.

         Two birds of a feather, 

         she was easy to call out as the favorite.

I didn’t cry too much when you passed 

from this land of the living to the one beyond.

It’s not often allowed in a family of strong women.

We talk things through 

and make arrangements 

and laugh in the hushed rooms of the morticians.

 We become the stronger shoulder 

and the quiet voice of reason.

We pack up the clothes left lying on the bed,

         and label the boxes for storage.

         We repaint the walls 

         and put the house up for sale. 

         Or decide not to.

my sister's rings 2.JPG

 It has taken me two years 

to have the turquoise and coral 

         squash blossom ring you always wore 

         cut down to fit my finger.

It doesn’t look quite right on me.

But that’s okay.

I look over at the last picture taken of you and me.

Turquoise at throat and fingers

         a glass of wine in your hand,

         your arm around my waist.

This is when the tears threaten to escape, until I swallow them back.

I will wear the ring.

It will remind me

of my sister Ann.

Strong.

And solid.

And always a gallop ahead of me.

“There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.  You know the way that leads to the place where I am going.” John 14:2-4 (GNT)

 It Is Well - Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI

 

Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society