Today marks two years since my sister died. It was sudden, and tragic. She was one of my best friends, even though we lived two states away from one another. You know those relationships that seem to pick up where they left off when you get together? That’s what we had. It wasn’t because we were sisters necessarily, but we experienced some similar things in life, and we helped one another through the hard times.
She came out to visit for a week every other Christmas and Thanksgiving, with her amazing husband by her side. She had come out in the summer more recently since our parents were getting up in years and my mom’s health was declining. She came when she can, and when I needed her help with their care and attention.
I am sure to many she was just a sister, but for me she was a mentor and she probably didn’t even realize it. I should have told her. You see, my sister had a hard life for quite a few years. She was the rebellious one growing up—running away at 16 and marrying young at 18. Her marriage was filled with abuse and an alcoholic and drug-addicted husband. And two children. Her kids meant everything to her and when she knew she had to leave she lived out of her car for months until she could take the children with her. She was willing to be homeless before she was willing to leave her kids behind and escape to the safety of my parents’ home—taking temporary refuge while she enrolled in college and prepared to raise her kids on her own.
There was a lot that was hard in her life, and yet she smiled. She finally met the love of her life and they married in 2000. She smiled more then. She suffered health issues and challenges, and she continued to smile. I am not saying she was always happy, or ignored the challenges, I am saying she managed to smile through them. She loved others, and she flashed that smile. When I asked my brother in law what made him fall in love with her, he said it was her smile. Life isn’t always easy, and for many it is hard—really hard. But I learned from my sister that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to smile. I try to remember that when I am frustrated or discouraged. And I can do better. I am so grateful that she found happiness, and her smile. I will forever be grateful that she was not just a sister but a friend. And I will always miss her. RIP Rebecca “Becky” Weston, and please smile down on me and let me know you are near.