When we lose a loved one, the pain is often unimaginable. It is difficult for even the most skilled writer to capture a loved one in words that are everlasting and that represent a life tribute. I know this, best of all. Ten years ago today, I lost my middle sister. She died of breast cancer in the fourth decade of her life on earth.
I am sharing the eulogy I delivered in her honor, so that it continues to act as a life tribute. This message is an example of the type of work Writefully Inspired performs on a consistent basis:
For those of us that knew my sister Robin the best, we know well her attentiveness to planning events ahead and organizing them efficiently. She was one of those people who shopped in the summer for Christmas. If she was arranging a party, she had every detail down to the seating arrangements and place tags.
I have many problems with all of us being here today. Robin was generally the one who scheduled get-togethers and trying to satisfy all family members. I wish my sister had more control setting the date of our meeting together on this particular day. Although we are all grateful that Robin is no longer suffering, it seems that we are all guests here honoring her many years too soon. Robin was not known for being punctual. For once, I really would have welcomed her not being on time.
I was four years old when my sister Robin was first brought home from the hospital. I have only a vague recollection, but my mother tells me I insisted she return Robin and get another baby. For some reason, I had it in my mind that I wanted a baby brother and Robin was quite obviously a baby girl born with a petite face and surprisingly a full head of dark straight hair.
There were many advantages to growing up with my sister, Robin. She did a much better job at making beds than me and seemed to pick up my mom’s meticulous habits at a young age. Robin was always Mommy’s little girl when it came to helping make things neat around the house.
Robin was also extraordinarily more graceful than I was. She rescued me from the torments of my mother’s ballet lessons when my mom discovered she had a much more coordinated dance companion in Robin.
Robin had many talents. She was artistic by nature and handier than many women and men. Her home is a tribute to her creativity. She wallpapered, stenciled, painted, designed floral arrangements, sewed curtains, and made everything look wonderful. She took great pride in her home, including her collection of Boyd’s Bears. Even the bears were arranged in a specific order. The male bear was consistently placed on the left. Robin made a point to share this with me in the week before her death.
My sister Robin had a quick wit and was a cynic at times. She was beautiful and sparkled from within even as the depths of her illness took her. She loved to travel and found a special haven on the beaches of Mexico.
My sister Robin loved simpler things in life. She preferred eyelet to frills; understated to overstated. In reality, Robin’s main loves were small children, and animals, particularly her dogs. Robin lived to nourish and care for not only those she loved, but also strangers who passed through her all too short life.
I remember the thrill and happiness when my niece Jennifer was born. I will tell you unequivably that Robin gave Jennifer her all. Robin believed in Jennifer and made her the focus of her universe. For most of Jennifer’s formative years, Robin was a stay at home mother. It was not until Jennifer was in school that Robin decided to pursue a career outside the home.
Not surprisingly, Robin fell into a care-taking situation and swiftly picked up a certification in geriatric recreation therapy. It did not surprise me when I went to visit her at one of the area nursing homes and found evidence of her organizational skills. Everything was color-coded and her staff so well delegated that I am sure they did not know what hit them!
It was only too soon that the demands of Robin’s illness hit her and she had to quit full time work. She did not let the cancer dissuade her though. Instead of paid employment, Robin elected to volunteer her time so that she could make her own hours.
Again, Robin continued to nourish and care. She started by feeding the needy in a Newark soup kitchen. She bottle-fed babies hospitalized and born to addicts. She volunteered her time at a nursing home for retired nuns. She taught religious education in her local parish.
While Robin helped in the soup kitchen, she met a young street addict with a precious two-year-old daughter. Robin brought mother and child to her home to try to help them. When the mother asked Robin to care for her daughter while she sought help for her addictions, Robin was only too thrilled to take little Carmen into her home. She sacrificed the order of her house and transformed her dining room into a bedroom for Carmen. Robin’s front porch is still decorated as a playroom and shows signs of her love for small children. Robin loved Carmen deeply and made a difference in her life.
I will not stand before you and dwell upon the sadness of my sister’s battle with cancer. Suffice it to say, Robin was strong in her opinions and beliefs. During the last few years, Robin took an even more proactive role in her treatment plan, right to the end. She was assertive, determined, and optimistic that each new protocol would tame the cancer beast and still allow her to pursue her life’s love of caring for others. She tried to shield us from what the disease was doing to her.
I started as the eldest of four sisters. I lost my sister Yvonne nearly 35 years ago. I am sure that Yvonne is there to guide Robin in heaven. Although I only have my sister Niki left here on earth, I stand assured that both my other sisters are here looking out for us.
Robin, I am glad you are no longer in pain. I am glad you will not have to go for any more scans or tests or worry about what tomorrow will bring. While you are not here physically, we will always know you are with us.
I hope that I have touched you with this rather personal message. It seemed fitting to do so on the ten-year anniversary of Robin’s death. Here at Writefully Inspired, we believe in honoring the living and the dead. Please contact us if you need assistance with a eulogy, life tribute or life story.