Posted by: chlost | December 1, 2014

Thanks

My sister came to our Thanksgiving celebration with more than just a race and gingerbread house on her agenda. When she was transferring her 8 mm video to dvd, she found some video that she wanted to share with everyone.

She waited until everyone was together at the house, and set up the dvd player. This meant that my mother, brother, his fiancée, my kids and their spouses were all gathered around the television screen.

We were suddenly in my sister’s kitchen instead of mine, as my mother celebrated her 75th birthday nearly ten years ago. All of us had written a letter to my mother with memories and good wishes for her, and my sister had put those together into a book. My mother sat at my sister’s kitchen table and was reading and commenting on the letters.

This was before her stroke. Her personality, sense of humor and intelligence shone through. It was difficult to see that person, especially as my mom, in her current version, watched along with us. She told us she couldn’t understand what the video of herself was saying. I am not sure whether it was due to hearing issues or comprehension, but she did not seem to remember the event at all.

The best part of that was a line in my oldest son’s letter which referred to his future wife. We all laughed as his new wife heard the comment he made nearly 10 years ago.

The second video was of a family trip we all made to Ireland nearly 7 years ago. It was a trip of 14 people from age 11 to 77.

Both of the videos included my youngest sister. She died in 2010, the day before her 50th birthday.

I had not heard her voice or seen her in a video for nearly 5 years. When I saw her in the video, talking to my mom as she read her birthday notes, it was overwhelming. It caught me totally off guard.

My brother reached across his fiancée to me and patted my leg. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” He said, choking up.

She was so alive. Her voice was so familiar.

I cried.

It felt as though she was there with us again. I cried as much in happiness at seeing her again as with sadness of missing her.

My daughter-in-law came over to me to give me a hug. I was bawling by then. My brother’s fiancée hugged me.

It was wonderful and awful. I cried for a very long time.

I miss her so much.

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Responses

  1. You get a virtual hug from me until I see you again. Then you can have a real one.

  2. I always think this is one of the downsides of holidays — they remind us of those who are no longer with us.

    I can see how the video is both wonderful and awful …. just hang on to the wonderful part, because you’ll always have her image and voice to see/hear again.

  3. Oh, boy. I can feel that as I read it. I wish I had some video of my brother who died.

  4. A hug from me too. Today is nine years since my cousin died. He was two months younger than me and we were best friends all our lives. Time goes; memories stay.

  5. How poignant this story is. All of us who have loved and lost empathise greatly with you on this one. But, yes, how wonderful to have the option of watching and listening if you wish to and feel strong enough: and to pass on her legacy down through the family.

  6. […] Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my sister had brought copies of old family videos which included my sister Kathleen.  We had not seen the videos before, and it was quite emotional to see her and to hear her talking. If you recall, I posted about that. […]

  7. I just read this post today. I’m more than a little behind. I lost my younger sister almost 5 years ago (she was 44) and died of a heart attack at home. I miss her dearly and would give anything to hear her voice again.

    • I am not sure how it was for you, but my sisters and I were/are very close. It has been a difficult adjustment to go from the 3 of us to the 2. Even after 5 years. I’m sorry to hear that you lost your sister, too.


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