Acts of Honor and Remembrance

I originally had a different post planned for today, but Monday marked a significant day for me and it inspired a little something. As a result you will have to wait a week for said post and listen to this incessant ramble. 🙂

Now, my family who’s reading this blog right now is probably sitting there perplexed scratching their heads in confusion. I assure you, you don’t have the days wrong. My *coughs* day was still on Tuesday. But the anniversary event I am referring to took place a day earlier.

On April 16th 1997 I gave my sister a warm hug goodbye as I prepared to leave her new home up in Northern California. My lame boyfriend from the time (that’s a post for another time) was in tow. We had enjoyed a wonderful reunion, catching up on what turns her life had made and what new and exciting things lay in store. I had no idea this would be the last time I would ever see her.

Kristi had become a model for anyone looking to turn their life around. Facing the problem that had taken hold of her life, she was willing to take the giant steps necessary to better herself and end the control bad influences and habits had on her. She said No More to drugs. Putting a safe distance between her and old influences she moved twelve hours away.

She was clean! Got a job. A really great job and took on many new challenging responsibilities. But most importantly, she was happy. And that was what I saw when I visited her to see where and how she was living. So beautiful in her newly discovered bliss, her aura glowed – detectable to even me.

Our relationship had never been the close-knit bond parents hope their children might have. Our paths and personalities set us apart. Me, always wanting to help fix and guide, her, always needing to find her own path. But in maturity and soberness we found each other. Maybe it was simply being able to understand.

She had always been young and free-spirited. I was always too grown up, even as a child. Mature and by the rules. In the middle was where we needed to meet.

…and met that week we did. When it was time to leave, I felt so incomplete. Just then, into my hand she slipped a card. Something she had written just for me and I cherish to this very day. One month to the day she’d move on from this world and I ask you, was that goodbye enough… to be all right letting go?

I’ve had many chances at goodbyes, said many different ways. Some I’ve been present for as they quietly slipped away. It’s never easy and it never feels complete. Almost always, there’s something left heavy, dragging at your feet.

But the most important thing to remember in each and every day is to be happy and enjoy life with an open heart and mind. Remember, any day could be our last day. Live with no regrets. Tell the one’s around you how you feel and don’t let unspoken truths remain a wall between the two of you.

Love is eternal. It will transcend death. But trust me when I tell you, say the words now. Don’t wait till it’s a wall of world between.

Don’t hold on to hate, anger or rage. These emotions consume and it’s only yourself that is ruined. Forgive and move past. It’s a liberating feeling. Celebrate life whenever possible. Don’t punish it.

Next month it will be the fifteen year anniversary. Will I do something to honor my sister? I might have something in the works. Do you honor your loved ones that have passed on? Loving them in your heart is always more than enough.

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53 thoughts on “Acts of Honor and Remembrance”

  1. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    Beautiful post, Debra.Thank you for the intimate glance into your family and your heart.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You’re welcome, Louise. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    Thanks for sharing Debra. I know how important those last memories can be. I have mine with my brother–and while they can make me cry and smile, you are right they also remind me to make sure that I don’t take for granted what I say to my family when we all leave the house in the mornings. Every moment is special.
    Beautiful Debra!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You’re so very welcome, Coleen. Times like those are wakeup calls for the soul. I can’t tell you how sorry I am about your brother. I know you’ve written about him a few times. He is your journey as Kristi is mine. If we are unable to take something from these experiences and become better people for it, then we are failing to see the bigger picture, aren’t we? Despite all the pain there is something to be gained from all of this. Something worth sharing with others. I believe there is anyway.

      Bless you and your family.

      • Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

        Thank you Debra!
        I am thinking of you and sending hugs.

  3. Christine AshworthChristine Ashworth

    It has been 19 years in March since my brother passed away. I still talk to him, think about him, laugh and consider his point of view – often a snarky and hilarious one. This year I didn’t write a memorial post – next year I may, I don’t know. I go back and forth on those.

    Hugs, honey. Sending lots of hugs.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      They never do leave us, do they? I still find myself thinking about my sister or father and internally making a comment to them when I’m watching a show or working on my story. They are forever a part of us. Yeah, I get not doing a memorial post. I doubt I’ll do one every year. People would probably get sick of it. 🙂 But every once and a while I think it’s good to remember to stop and take a look around. I know, even after all I’ve been through it’s easy for me to fall back into the day to day grind. I need to constantly remind myself that each day is special and you just never know.

      Your brother was lucky to have you. Wish I had known last month was 19 years. Hug to you. <3

  4. susielindaususielindau

    This is so beautiful Debra! Her name was Kristi? Is that why your blogging name is Debra Kristi? I can see why your birthday falling the very next day must be so hard for you with having to celebrate your life and hers.
    This is great advice that I try to live by every day….
    Excellent story and tribute Debra.
    Now make some time for yourself this weekend girlfriend!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Susie. Yes, that explains my name. It doesn’t mark her last day of life, just the last day I saw her so it’s not as horrendous. Thank you for being such a good friend. Remember to cherish each day. And I’ll take that advice. I’ll enjoy my weekend. 🙂 Hugs!

      • susielindaususielindau

        Oh right! Duh! She passed a month later. Well that’s good. I always feel for those that have a loved one pass away on their birthday.
        Definitely call for some appointments and make it your “Princess Day” tomorrow!

        • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

          Ha ha! We have kid birthday parties to attend to. Fun times. 🙂

  5. Jennette Marie PowellJennette Marie Powell

    What a wonderful and heartfelt tribute already in this post. And what an encouraging story of how your sister turned her life around. So sad she didn’t have long to enjoy it, but good that you were able to connect with her on the level you did before she was gone. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You are so welcome Jennette. Thank you. Yes, it would have been nice if she had been allowed more time. God had other plans for her.

  6. mgmillerbooksmgmillerbooks

    Debra, you’re one of the most genuinely sincere and loving people I’ve met. Thinking of you. And smiling 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Mike. You are too kind. I am who I am. Your thought and words are much appreciated. 🙂

  7. EmmaEmma

    Hi Debra,
    Thanks for sharing with us. This was a beautiful post. I know we should all live to the fullest every day but it’s hard to do sometimes when you have everyday problems to deal with. I try to enjoy life with an open mind and heart. Thanks again.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Emma. That’s the best any of us can do. I need to remind myself all the time. It’s easy to fall back into the day to day rush.

  8. Sheila SeabrookSheila Seabrook

    What a wonderful picture of the two of you, a beautiful memory to cherish, Debra. And now I understand how you selected your online name. Thanks for sharing this moment with us!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Sheila. That was a special trip. Beautiful area she moved to. My name honors her. 🙂

  9. Angie Z.Angie Z.

    Such a great picture — I’m so glad for you for having such a meaningful last visit with your sister. This post eloquently offers an important lesson about valuing every moment we have with our loved ones. Thank you for that.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You’re welcome, Angie. Thanks for stopping by. THe lesson learned holds more meaning when I get to share it.

  10. Ingrid SchaffenburgIngrid Schaffenburg

    So touching Debra. Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you had that chance to connect with her before she moved on. And what a beautiful reminder, through her, of the importance of living life to it’s fullest and not hanging on to anger and resentment. Thank you 🙂

  11. alicamckennajohnsonalicamckennajohnson

    Such a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding us to cherish each day and those in it!

  12. Molly PendleburyMolly Pendlebury

    {{{HUGS}}} Debra!!! A beautiful post for sure. Kind words and great reminders!!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you so much Molly. Your words are much appreciated.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you so much Molly. {{{HUGS}}}} right back at cha!

  13. Richard A Snow - WriterRichard A Snow - Writer

    A beautiful post. It must be hard losing a brother or sister in your 20s (Or however old she was). It would always seem to e that they got “robbed” of the years they could have lived. best wishes.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Richard. I don’t believe it’s easy losing a sibling at any age. All losses are painful and none means less than any other in my eyes. I do hear what you are saying though. We aren’t meant to understand the bigger plan.

  14. Kourtney HeintzKourtney Heintz

    Debra, that was so heartfelt and moving. I teared up. I’m sorry you lost your sister, but I’m so glad you had that week together. 🙂 I do little things to honor the dead. Their names are in my books so they live on forever on my pages. And with family, I visit their graves. Sometimes I pretend they can hear me and I talk to them.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That’s lovely Kourtney. We all grieve and remember in our own way. I think that’s neat that you have written them into your books. I have done the same.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You’re welcome, Tracey. Thank you for stopping in. 🙂

  15. patriciasandspatriciasands

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m so sorry for your loss. The lessons we learn through the loss of a loved one remain with us forever – it’s part of their legacy. Every day is indeed a gift and the spirits of those absent live on in our hearts to remind us of this.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Such beautiful and true words. Thank you Patricia. I couldn’t agree more. I really appreciate that you stopped in.

  16. Piper BayardPiper Bayard

    My loss is very close to my heart in this moment so I’ll turn to James Taylor to sum it up. Fire and Rain….. I always thought that I’d see you again…. More often than not, we don’t get to know the last time for anything. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful picture.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Oh Piper, I’m so sorry. If ever you need to talk or just need someone to listen I am here. Kristi is not the only one I’ve lost. For whatever reason, I was given a lot of experience in that area so I can usually understand where a person is coming from and/or feeling. I ran a post in December that might help you if you are having trouble placing the emotions. It’s called “The Elephant in the Room.” Healing takes a long time and it may always be tender. {{{hugs}}}

      • Piper BayardPiper Bayard

        You’re so kind. Thank you, but it’s a very old event, and, as I’m sure you know, now and then things happen in the present that can echo events of the past. In this case, the only thing needed was a good night’s sleep and a conscious remembering that this one isn’t mine. It’s morning now, and I’m sorted out and ready to face the event of the present. But again, you are very kind, and I appreciate your compassion.

        • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

          I’m glad you woke up feeling better. I do understand the feeling all to well. {{{Hugs}}}

  17. tedstrutztedstrutz

    Nice post, Debra. I’m sure your sister is very proud of you. Your last sentence says it all, at least for me.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thanks, Ted. I think you’re right. I believe she is proud and finally happy.

  18. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    Thank you for sharing something that I’m sure is still so precious and difficult. This year will be 11 years since I lost one of my dearest friends to a drunk driver. It always seems strange to me how much time has passed.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That’s always hard, so senseless. I feel for you Marcy. The time thing is an odd one. It’s like a blink of an eye sometimes and others, it feels real.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Elena. Sending BIG hugs right back. ❤

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