Today is my sister Betty's birthday. Betty was much more than just my sister, she was my dearest companion throughout our childhood and is, to this day, always in my heart, no matter what the distance.
It greatly pained me that she died before me. It was not just that she was younger - by 18 months or so - it was that when we were growing up and as young women, she was always so remarkably young in spirit. When I would be sitting reading a book, Betty would be out climbing a tree or kicking up a ruckus.
We were together in good times and bad. The period from when Papa's health started deteriorating to when he became a convalescent to when he died was, I think, about from when I was 17 to just past 19. For Betty, that would have been from 15 to 17. Imagine being her age and helping tend for a beloved, declining parent.
We were always close, but that time when Mom was back in Baltimore trying to replace Papa at the office and the three of us - Papa, Betty and I - were tucked away in the “Come Again Cabin” in Bryn Athyn brought the two of us even closer.
We were each other's support and comfort in what seems, looking back, an impossibly difficult time. Both Betty and I were in school and yet – until he moved up the road to Cowley’s - we were responsible for taking care of Papa, the little house, and school.
I still grieve that I was not able to give Papa better care and I am sure Betty carried that sadness with her too.
I like to think what life would be like if Betty was still alive and if we were living close to each other. I like picturing long talks over coffee at Barnes & Noble or in the kitchen at Squirrel Haven. The two of us splitting a can of Progresso Turkey Noodle Soup and some fluffy biscuits. The two of us just being together. I would have liked that, I would have liked that a lot.
Happy birthday, Betty. Your sister loves and misses you. - Cossie -