This is a picture that I hated in my teen years. My mom kept it up on the mantle because she said ‘it’s the last picture of all of us together”. I didn’t like it because I was a little kid in it – I was just 10 years old. And being a teenager I didn’t want to be seen as a little kid. In my 20s and 30’s I made peace with the picture and I am so glad that Mom kept it.

It shows mom and dad and me and my four sisters, in order of age from oldest to youngest, right to left. My parents have both passed on – Mom in 1979 and Dad in 1987. We lost my youngest sister Betty in 2010 and just lost my oldest sister Sylvia this summer.

I have many good memories of my family. We went camping all together every summer and had great times. We always ate dinner together and had parents who looked out for us and both taught us good life lessons but also modeled love in action. We kept doing things together, like family campouts at the beach, until covid intervened.

I have specific memories of each of my sisters and I love them all. They all have stories to tell of dealing with my early morning perkiness, but they were family in the best way possible. I felt love from each of them, in different ways.

My sister Sylvia was similar to me in that she was an early bird, an introvert, and quiet. Sometimes I wish she had been more vocal so that I could’ve known her better. She spent some time after college back at home – I think there were a couple of camping trips where it was just her and me and my parents (my other sisters had got married or away at college). And I got to know her more when I spent the summer before my freshman year of college helping her and her husband Don build their house.

If you’re like me you tend to feel like your relatives will be there forever, even though you know they won’t. Please take the time to get to know them more – draw them out if they are quiet like my sister Sylvia. And make sure to let them know you love them – you can’t say it enough.

To all my sisters, here and beyond – thanks for the memories – I love you all:)