Did you have an older sibling who died young, and now you are older than your sister or brother? That’s where I am. On this very day, in fact – on her 67th birthday. My sister Judy was the age of 58 when lung cancer made her physical presence disappear. Made her voice disappear. Made her thoughts stop. Made those who were the beneficiaries of her unconditional love less loved.
I am a year and a half older than she was when she died. Still, I feel myself younger than her. Lesser in many ways – though none of them negative, as my sub-status allowed me to be student to the master. Or mistress. Or whatever is the appropriate term for a female genius with an incomparable compassion for every single person she met. Every. Single. One.
The totality of her being evoked feelings – not words. It is that overwhelming combination of feelings of love and regard and debt and gratitude that creates a reverence that still lives as if she still lived. Which she does not.
Birthdays still exist; aging stops. Happy Heavenly Birthday, Judy.
As her son, my nephew, is wont to say on timely occasions thus: Stop smoking, damnit.