Thursday, July 3, 2008
Baby Sister ...
Today is the two year anniversary of Wendy's death. These anniversaries are tough reminders of the details. Like our first reactions; the phone call I received from my brother, Randy, the message on my cell phone from her daughter, Catherine, my first conversation with my Mother, and the calls I had to make myself.
Wendy died suddenly, at about 3:00 in the morning. She and Catherine lived next door to each other. Cat didn't get a response from Wendy that morning as she was leaving for work, either on her phone or at her door. She had to let herself in the widow of the bedroom where she was lying across her bed. The Medical Examiner said it was all quite instant, and that there was no indication of her suffering. An aneurysm ...
Wendy rented and watched two movies that night, The Pink Panther and Syriana. She loved Steve Martin and she had a major love crush on George Clooney. So I like to think of her spending her last evening with those two. We talked last around 6:00. We usually talked 4 or 5 times every day and for some reason we didn't speak before bed. That day she went to see my Great Aunt Ruth and she also went to my Grandparent's graves, where we ended up burying her ashes.
I photographed Wendy all of her life. This photo is one of my favorites because her personality comes through so clearly. We were celebrating my 50th at the Palm in Houston and I had asked her to take the place right across from me as I knew she would want lobster and I had to get the photo.
That birthday coincided with Thanksgiving that year so we had a two week visit that included Mom. That was her last trip to Houston, our last Thanksgiving together, and my last birthday with her. That afternoon of my birthday we went to the Princess Diana exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts with a group of friends. She and I left together and drove through Jack in the Box for her favorite, Monster Tacos, on the way to MGP2 to have birthday cake.
That was not the last time Wendy and I saw each other. My Aunt Lauretta died the following April so I came to Watertown for a week. Wendy's fibromialgia was really kicking in terribly and she was not in a good place. She also had a very serious urinary tract infection so we spent a night at the emergency room and then I stayed with her. The last time I saw her was when Catherine, Mom and Wendy dropped me off at the airport in Sioux Falls. Saying good bye was always hard. I was so far away for so many years.
After I send this to press, I am going to go out to my garden to pick an arrangement for Wendy's grave. I have many of her favorite flowers planted. I am going to go pick Mom up to come along. I will go out there again later today with Catherine. The 4th of July is a huge celebration for our family. Mom and I will go get our groceries then and spend the day preparing our traditional foods ... Pistachio Bundt cake included : )
I really love Wendy's headstone. The verse is from a refrigerator magnet that Wendy gave to Cat a very long time ago. How appropriate and comforting these words are when we visit. Wendy was an expert on Irish mythology and our family's roots. Catherine designed the Celtic cross and we put her initials inside of it.
A safe, happy and blessed 4th of July weekend to all of us ... many things to mourn, but more to celebrate !