My sister, Lori, was 12 years old when I was born. She got married when I was six, so I don't have many memories of her living at home. When my twin and I were learning how to talk and couldn't say our R's properly, Lowee, repeated over and over again, became Weelo. We called her that for years. I do remember seeing her in front of the bathroom mirror, putting on make-up (from what I hear, she did that a lot), and I will never forget when she played the part of Ruth in the high school's production of "Pirates of Penzance." I was five years old, and I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
(She's the one in red)
I got to know Lori better when my twin sister and I went and stayed at her house in Texas for a few weeks during the summer of 1993. We were 15, and Lori was married, with three children of her own. She was going to school during the day, so we took the kids swimming and played until she got home, then we watched movies and made delicious food. The kids were hilarious, putting on dance shows to the soundtrack of "Cats" and just being goofy. We even found a baby bird that was injured and tried to nurse it back to health by feeding it applesauce. I will always fondly remember that time.
Of course I saw her at family gatherings, and she and her family lived in Colorado for a few years here and there, but I really got to know Lori more when I was an adult. I went to school to become a paramedic, and since she had become a nurse practitioner, we suddenly found that we had a lot in common. I remember visiting her once and playing a game to see if we could stump each other with difficult diagnoses.
I served a mission in Texas, and Lori lived just a few hours away, so after squaring it with the mission president, she came to visit on Christmas day. She brought my other sister, Amy, as a surprise. That was a really great day. They had made me a danish pastry wreath, fudge meltaways, and hershey balls (all Christmas staples in my family), and for that day, I felt like I was home again.
After I returned from the mission, I was driving somewhere with Lori and she asked me if I had met anyone that I "liked" yet. I told her I liked a missionary that I served with, but that he was three years younger than I, so it was out of the question. She just looked at me as if I was stupid and said, "Why?" For some reason, it had never occurred to me that I could marry someone younger than I was, but when she said that, I immediately felt like it was ok, and that he was the one.
Lori wasn't without her faults. She really struggled with a few things, but she never gave up. Every time she fell, she got up, brushed herself off, and kept on going. Even through her trials, she was a huge support to me. I still have all of the letters she wrote to me when I was a missionary. She encouraged me in my learning of Spanish, and she was very excited for me when I finally got married at the ripe old age of 26 (all of my sisters were married by the time they were 21).
(Lori is in green)
I really grew close to Lori when I had Christopher. She texted me almost daily during the first month or so to get updates. We kept up with each other on Facebook, mostly, but there were occasional phone calls as well. I am very comforted by the fact that the one of the last things I said to her is "I love you!" She died a week later.
I sorely miss my sister. I miss the sing-songy way she talked (she was very dramatic). I miss her quirky Facebook posts. I miss her beautiful face. Our family choir will not be the same again in this lifetime. I love you so much, Weelo! I can't wait to see you again!