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Vaya con Dios

F01May 22, 1999.  Exactly one year after her high school graduation.  I didn’t know that.  That the day she died, the last day of her freshman year in college, was exactly a year to the day she had graduated high school.  So it shocked me a little when Lora’s youth minister re-read her high school graduation certificate at her funeral. [paraphrasing his thoughts here] "On May 22, 1998, I read this passage to Lora as part of her graduation ceremony.  And on May 22, 1999, it applied again.  Matthew 25:23: ‘His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’"  Naturally, that got the entire congregation choked up.  But it was also a comforting thought.

I remember her high school graduation.  She went to a small, private school.  One where all the kids are taught at their own pace.  She was the lone graduating student in her class.  So they combined her ceremony with our church’s youth group senior class dinner ceremony.  It was fitting, since she had grown up with those same kids.  And it was such a supportive environment – the church lifting them all up and sending them off to college. 

I was a surprise "guest speaker" at the ceremony – my speech was a graduation gift to her.  She was overwhelmed and in tears.  And after the speech, she sang a song – a gift to her fellow graduating friends from church – "Go Light Your World."  It was a beautiful day. 

I am sad and I’m smiling today, remembering what a light she was.  I certainly don’t want everyone to think I mope around crying all the time.  In fact, I write about these things not to wallow, but to remind myself that it’s okay to let stuff matter, to cry it out, and be inspired by it somehow.   I don’t have anything prepared for today’s post, so I’ll let my thoughts from her high school graduation stand as another fond memory and fitting tribute to our friendship as sisters.

My speech for Lora

Her christmas gift to me a few months later.  I didn’t know it would be our last Christmas, but I’m so lucky for her words.

(our last picture together, taken during my college graduation weekend)


edit: spelling correction, per mom.

2nd edit: fixed the link to my sister’s christmas gift letter

keri - Crystal – What a great tribute to your sister. I know she continues to be proud of you. Take Care, Keri

KBG - Everytime you post about her my heart breaks for you. I can’t imagine having a sister and then having a life without her. It sounds like you two were able to make the most of and appreciate each other in the time that she was here. I always worry about trying to say something to someone that is greiving because I feel like there are no adequate words. I apologize if this attempt falls short. Please know that the intentions were pure.

Erin - It’s amazing how fast time goes. It doesn’t seem like a full year has gone by sincw J was home on his R&R this time last year. I was so glad he was there for you last year during this time and now again this year. You are such a strong woman that I know your children will be inspired by. I greive with you today and pray for you always!
Love Erin

The NON-Superwoman - What an honor to read about your sister. What a beautiful young lady. I read every page and looked at every picture on her website. My heart broke because I too am a big sister and can’t imagine the loss. May your heart be comforted by the good memories! Thanks for sharing.

Lara - that’s beautiful and wonderful and filled with love. i’m sorry you have had to go through that and continue to go through it still, but i’m so glad to see the love you can still hold to in spite of it.
i’ll be praying for you.

Sarah - It is always inspiring to hear stories of you and your sister. I could read/listen all day about your relationship. You are a very strong woman. Know that I am thinking of you and your sister today. Love, Sarah

stephanie - thank you for sharing the speech and the letter with us. it makes me realize i need to appreciate my sister more. i’m thinking of you and Lora today.

Eulalia - Estoy con vosotros en este día tan triste.

Karen - A very touching tribute. Thank you for sharing…you’re very lucky to have her watching over you.

Andrea - So beautiful, and so heart wrenching. It sounds like you related to each other in such deep ways. I’ve always longed for a relationship like that with a sister. Was not to be.
What prolific writers you both are – thank you for sharing, even if it did make my heart hurt. I hope that your daughter has the joy of having a sister relationship like you and Lora.