This post has been on my mind for a few days. I’ve wondered how to start it. I knew the photo above would be shared. It’s my sister, Danielle. It’s the photo that is “assigned” to her name and phone number in my iPhone. When she calls, it lights up and this is what I see before I answer.
But, last week, Danielle, died.
On November 5th, I got a phone call that she wasn’t doing well. Each day after she became worse. I live about 6 hours from her, so on November 9, my brother and I, Mattie (my youngest son), and Courtney (my niece – Danielle’s daughter) made the trek across the desert to visit her. It was one of the hardest days I’ve ever known. That was until November 10th at 11:45pm MT and that became my new hardest day, which has, so far, rolled into my saddest week.
She was a mother of 6. She was a sister to 8. A daughter to our mom and dad. An aunt to 10 children. She was only 37 years old. She was born 1 year and 5 days after me. As children, we were inseparable…as my brother says “partners in crime”. As adults, we lived near each other more than we didn’t, and we did so much together: dinners, scrapbooking, trips to Vegas, lunches out, shopping at Target…
She loved scrapbooking, the movie Sixteen Candles, Jeff Gordon, chicken enchiladas, purple, fast food, Mexican food, mayonnaise, Good n’ Plenty’s, Diet Pepsi, chewing on ice, traveling, music….and her family.
I was her protector and it sucks to know that I couldn’t stop this from happening.
I’m glad that I’ve taken so many photos over the years because they have brought a few smiles to my face this past week. I put the one above of her and I as my cell phone background. I’ve shared many of them with family who didn’t have any of her and I know the photos have brought them joy too.
And we’ve been sharing lots of stories. Like the one time, Danielle and I got to sleep in our parents bed while they were entertaining friends. We finished off a bottle of white peppermint Rolaids while sloshing around on their waterbed. I recalled the time I stole a piece of peppermint candy from the bulk bins at the grocery store and tried to quietly eat it in our van on the way home. It was night and I kept my face turned to the window so no one would be able to see what I was doing. It was Danielle who started smelling the air: sniff…sniff…sniff…and says: “I smell peppermint, Mommy.” I tried not to exhale and swallowed it as fast as I could.
I would love it if my phone could light up with her pink sombrero photo one more time. sigh….I know it won’t.
We miss you and we love you, Danielle…rest in peace. March 31, 1974 – November 10, 2011