A Much Missed, Beloved Sister

My younger sister was beloved.

I take a moment every September to remember my sister.

Lois Faith Brumbaugh circa 1980

We lost Lois when she was thirty-three. I miss her. There was something special about Lois. God gifted her with a big heart, a clever wit, intelligence to match, and the ability to carry her own. She also had good friends, a group for every stage of life. If you were one of them, you will understand how empty life felt when we lost her in 1993. Lois had much to give. She used her gifts to help make life a little better.

Mother taught us to sew. When Lois was in second or third grade, I sewed a dress for her. I remember the dress had three inch white lace at the neckline. It turned out good enough to wear.  I was five years older than her; that was quite an accomplishment for me. We would play a lot even though I was too old to play house and pretend like that, but I did it to make her happy and because we had fun together. I’m not sure mother always approved.

Singing at our grandparents. Lois and Jerry are in front. I’m in the brown jumper. My cousin Jana and I are holding rag dolls our grandmother made.

Lois was the youngest. She had a way of getting what she wanted more than the rest of us. I guess that’s pretty common for the baby of the family. Sometimes I was surprised at my folks. She and my cousin Jerry, both the babies, had a dynamic between them that was spirited and smart. They could come up with funny ways of looking at life, both intelligent and musical, and a bit funky at times. Lois and Jerry sang a duet at my wedding, “Longer Than.” It was beautiful.

Jerry and Lois on my wedding day, playing the songs I requested and singing “Longer Than.” Two very talented musicians. Circa 1980

Lois had musical talent. She figured it out, though. Years later she confessed that she would get her piano teacher to play a new song on the piano for her because then she could learn it without much trouble. If she could hear it first, she could play it by ear without having to sight read the music so much. None of the rest of us were that talented. Taking piano lessons was not an option in our family, except Paul got lucky. Actually, I’m happy mother was persistent, although I never was talented at the piano. I remember asking to stop piano lessons my senior year in high school. Mom was wasting her money on me. Lois also had perfect pitch and found some vocal artists hard to listen to because they didn’t stay on pitch.

Lois’ death was tragic. In recent years my father has spoken more about Lois’ death in one-on-one conversations and how he doesn’t understand why. I think a parent always wonders some of these things. I know she was depressed and found life too hard to face. I happened to run across her final letter this summer. Reading it again after all these years made me aware of how desperate people can feel but they never tell you. She said she could not face another day of work and knew she didn’t want to burden anyone. That wouldn’t have been a burden to us. We loved her and wanted the best for her. We would have done anything to help her.

We should be sensitive to the emotional components in life. That is why we must help each other instead of preaching at each other. People need us to care. You never know what is going on in another person’s life unless they choose to tell you. Secrets abound. Keep in touch with your family and friends. We need each other, and they need you.

My last visit with Lois was four weeks before her death. My children and I made a trip to Oregon to visit with cousins that August. We spent a day with Lois doing some hiking and visiting. I have a picture of us and the children walking on a bridge over a creek. She hosted us at her home in the evening and treated us to dinner. We watched a children’s movie together on TV with the little ones crowding in. I remember her being gracious and on the quiet side that night. My children loved their Aunt Lou.

Love your family. You never know the future.

. . .

I’ve written other posts about her. To access these posts type her name in the search bar.

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N. L. Brumbaugh likes to write contemplative thoughts about authentic spiritual living. A lot of heart goes into every one of her posts. She is a mix of reading specialist, country woman, writer, church leader, and storyteller. Norma loves creative artistry and celebrating life.

I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “A Much Missed, Beloved Sister

  1. Dear Claudia, Thank you for caring and loving. I was so sorry to hear about your sister. You’ve been through the sorrow. I’ll never forget the night Josh told me about your other loss. I was full of sorrow for you and your family. I know others suffer, that is why I must talk about my sister, and because I miss her in so many ways. She could always make me laugh and that made me happier.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet younger sister. It will be 6 years next month that I lost my younger sister. It’s so difficult to be the Memory Keeper. I love that you reminded others to be gentle with others since we never know what they are dealing with unless they choose to tell you. Hugs my sweet friend!