How much fun we had.
I’ll always remember going to Nana’s house as a small child, and the thrill of being allowed into your bedroom, as you and Lisa got ready for going downtown Newark.
You were both so grown up. I would look at your Peter Rabbit books as you put on your makeup, and I’d feel so important to be included in that ritual.
The years passed, and you came to live with us in East Brunswick when I was in high school. I was 15; you were a worldly 23. Suddenly I had a big sister. The family room was yours, and I’d come down to hang out with you.
My mom loved you and treated you as another daughter. You were included in our family events and occasions. You came to my orchestra and band concerts, and football games as I marched in the HS drumline, and cheered along with my family. It was so cool, having a big sister.
You kept my secrets, listened to my high school ramblings, and never said a word when I snuck out back late at night to meet my boyfriend. My beautiful “big sis” knew the score.
On the day I got my driver’s license, you and Mom came to the DMV and celebrated with me, later devouring a meal at Chi-Chi’s. Your being there made it even more special.
Then you met Mike at the pizza shop in town, and there bloomed a romance. We talked about how things were going and the guys I was dating. You lent me your clothes and helped me get ready for dates.
What a knack you had for hair and makeup! It’s no surprise you eventually got your certification in cosmetology. And you excelled!
We would lie outside in the sun listening to my ghetto blaster, laughing and talking about stuff.
Certain songs will always bring me back to that time, including “Your Imagination” by Hall & Oates and “Nice Girls” by Eye to Eye. You liked “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners (but I never held it against you). Haha.
Then I went away to college, and we wrote letters. You were going strong with Mike and I was dating, ultimately meeting the guy I would marry.
When you met John, you hit it off right away. You knew your little sis was onto something special.
I was thrilled to be asked as your Maid of Honor when you got engaged to Mike. Of course, being 18 and in college and not knowing jack about such duties, my Mom stepped in and made all of those arrangements on my behalf.
You were exquisite at your wedding! A vision of beauty. I was delighted to be at your side.
You accepted readily when I asked you to be my Matron of Honor four years later. You threw an awesome bridal shower and bachelorette party, and were an important presence as I became John’s wife. My big sis was there for me once again.
We hung out at your townhouse (how cute you had it decorated), having sleepovers. We had instant munchies delivered from the pizza shop. We spent many hours at the pool. When you bought the bi-level house I helped you organize your garage.
I stood by you in support as you and Mike went about starting a family. I shared your joy when you brought little Michael home. Years later I would feel so helpless as I hugged you and held your hand at his wake. I’d never before seen you so broken.
But there was nothing I could do. My heart ached for you.
And now it aches again. You have gone to Heaven, and those of us left behind miss you so. I know you’re with your son, my parents, Uncle Sal, Nana and Granddaddy, Uncle Johnny and all who have passed before. I know you’re well and at peace, and that I’ll see my big sis again … some day.
Until then, I will continue to remember your beautiful smile, angelic giggle and gentle demeanor.
I’ll never forget how much fun we had.