One of my earliest memories is waking up on the floor on spring morning. I remember crying, I remember pain. I remember my sister coming in to check on me and helping me get to my grandma (Manny’s) house. My sister trying to do everything to get me to be ok, worried about me and taking care of me. I was maybe 4 yrs old and she got me up every morning and took me to my Manny’s house because my mom worked nights at the ER. Manny & Dinah finally called my mom where I was rushed to the ER with a broken collar bone. I had fallen from my bunk bed and landed wrong and it snapped.

Another early memory of my childhood was lying in bed with my sister. She was always so warm and when I could be cold I would always want to snuggle with her. I know there is more than one picture floating around of us sleeping together. She would always sing to me; to this day I can’t hear the song, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, without thinking of her.
I was 5 when my next memory comes in. I was sick as a dog as I slept through most of my sister’s graduation and the party afterwards. A few months later, I remember going into a room and seeing my sister all dressed up and I had no idea what was going on, but as my sister walked down the aisle of the church and my mom squeezing my hand, I knew it was pretty profound. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t staying in my room anymore but Mom quickly changed the room around so I didn’t have too much time to miss her. It would be a little over a year later that my first niece, Julie, was born.

My mom and my sister would often time play jokes on me. They both looked A LOT alike and sounded alike as well. I remember one summer day that my mom stuck her head out the window and told me to come inside. I thought this was odd because she just sent me outside!! When low and behold it was Dinah telling me to come in and see her and baby Julie. I would call home later in my life and Dinah would be home and pretend to be mom or Mom would answer and I would demand to talk to Mom, thinking it was Dinah.
When I was 11, Dinah named her second child after me. Racheal & I share the same middle name and thus forged the bond between sisters even more. Dinah would often spoil me, buying me things Mom would say was too expensive or unnecessary. I was 12 when my sister bought me a waterbed, much to my Mom’s dismay.
When I was 12 I was finally allowed to go to the hospital while Dinah had a baby! It was so boring!! I had to sit in the waiting room with my brother in law, Joey, and wait. Here I thought I was going to see something exciting and all I did was sleep. But at least I was there when Molly was born. For Josh, Katy & Daniel I was the babysitter while everyone else went to the hospital and for Willie I was in a different state.

Times past, choices made and we drifted apart but there was still that bond there that only those with sisters will ever understand. Shared memories, shared blood, shared secrets always brought us back into each other’s confidence. She would always give me very wise counsel from our Manny, “Listen to what everyone has to say, then do what you feel is best.” Something I have tried hard to live by. We had just found each other again when it was time for her to go and every day that goes by, I miss her. She left me with a great responsibility, being world’s greatest aunt to 7 wonderful kids. While I love them all equally, some of them are less close then others. Some are more like sisters then nieces and for that I will always thank Dinah for…I have all these little pieces of her left. So today on her 53rd birthday I celebrate. I celebrate her life and know that her and my Mom & my Manny (and other family members) are celebrating together. Here’s to you Dinah, my big sis…thanks for all you gave to me and continue to give me everyday!!


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