Saturday, December 6, 2014


We buried my Brother's wife, my Sister-in-Law, last Monday in Waco, Texas. Both my grandmother and my Sister-in-Law have died in the last couple months. I have given a eulogy for both. Putting words down on a piece of paper seems to help me process loss. The grief for my Sister-In-Law, gone at age 48, hits me at odd times; usually when I am alone. Today as I am driving home from an errand, the tears flow. We are trying to move forward from a family tragedy and it is difficult.

I asked Commuter Husband "Will there be a day I do not think about Sister-in-Law?" 
He says "Yes."

Here is my Eulogy - revised slightly to mask the names ...


Hello. I am Mommy with Commuter Husband; Sister-in-Law’s sister-in-law, Brother’s sister and aunt to Nephew, Niece #1 and Niece #2. Sister-in-Law was Aunt to my sons, Oldest Son and Youngest Son. Thank you so much for being with us today. Many of you drove from long distances and we are grateful for your support and presence.

Yesterday in Sunday morning services at the First Presbyterian Church here in Waco, Pastor Leslie King included “the celebration of life for Sister-in-Law” in her announcements. This simple reference was so comforting. It is good to reflect on all the wonderful things Sister-in-Law brought to this earthly world and I would like to share some of these with you today.

Our beginning with Sister-in-Law was in 1994. Brother brought Sister-in-Law to meet Commuter Husband and me at the Fort Worth Kimball Art Museum. She was a “looker” with perfectly done blonde hair, her pretty face and tan legs in blue jean shorts. But more than beautiful, Sister-in-Law was witty and clever.  It was obvious from the beginning that she was intelligent and creative. At our Halloween bash that same year, Brother and Sister-in-Law showed up as the notorious Mickey and Mallory from the movie Natural Born Killers. Sister-in-Law donned a long platinum wig and Brother was bare-chested in a black leather jacket. This was when we first saw Sister-in-Law’s unique gift for Halloween costumes.

The next year in 1995, Brother and Sister-in-Law announced their engagement in September and were married soon thereafter. Once again Sister-in-Law was stunning in her white wedding dress set against a Lake Tahoe backdrop.

Sister-in-Law set up their first military home at Fort Hood, TX. This was where I saw her next talent. Sister-in-Law had a tremendous gift for decorating. She could take a garage sale find and turn it into an incredible accent table or use the just right frame for a cherished old photo or put together sale linens that were both comfortable and stylish. She could paint, glue, hammer, refinish, make curtains – the list goes on and on – she was incredibly gifted.

In February 1997, Sister-in-Law delivered the greatest gift. Nephew was born at Fort Hood and he was named after Sister-in-Law and her Sister’s father. Sister-in-Law was an attentive and loving mother to our vibrant, active and adorable Nephew. Sister-in-Law, Nephew and Brother transitioned from Fort Hood to Fort Benning, GA very quickly thereafter and I was amazed at Sister-in-Law’s ability to pick up and move as a new mother with an infant.

Just a few months later, Sister-in-Law, Nephew, Brother and their two cats stayed with us in Dallas for a few months while preparing for their next military move. They stayed in what we referred to back then as the Henry suite, which is now Youngest Son’s room. At the time, Commuter Husband and I were on the back end of a disastrous remodel and had just fired our general contractor. Sister-in-Law came in and totally took over. Thank goodness! She managed tile guys, the plumbers and the cabinetmakers – making easy friends with each. I found a shower curtain that I wanted for the boys’ bathroom but the accessories were very pricey. Sister-in-Law told me not to worry, that she could make them. And she totally did. Sister-in-Law hand painted the mirrors, the soap dishes and toothbrush holders – each item actually looked better than the ones that were in the store. She also hand panted all our light switches in the rest of the house and located the perfect tile for our new kitchen bar base. Sister-in-Law absolutely saved us. Commuter Husband and I will be forever grateful to Sister-in-Law for helping us complete our home.

Brother and Sister-in-Law then took their family of three to Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Sister-in-Law set up the next family home in a great apartment with newly added Hawaiian decor. Commuter Husband and I were fortunate to visit when Brother was promoted to Captain. Sister-in-Law was doing social work and it was fascinating to hear her describe the challenges of local Hawaiians and what she was doing to help them. Sister-in-Law had set up what I fondly called a racetrack for Nephew. Nephew went round and round and round the kitchen island pushing his toddler toys – it was hilarious! Sister-in-Law was always a patient and loving mother with young Nephew.

In August 2001, Sister-in-Law gave us her next precious gift. Niece #1 was born in Waco, Texas. Niece #1’s initials are the same as her father’s and her dad’s spirit shined through in her then as it does today. And in October 2004, Sister-in-Law brought our Niece #2 into the world in North Carolina and she is named after Brother’s and my mother.

Over the next few years, we visited Sister-in-Law, Brother and the kids in each of their homes in South Bend, Fort Polk, Fort Bragg, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Drum, Fort Monroe, Stephenville, Seattle and Fort Knox. Sister-in-Law was a military spouse through and through – always supporting Brother in the next move. In each of these nine homes, Sister-in-Law worked her special magic. I was always in awe when I walked through the door to see how beautiful and welcoming each home was – it was Sister-in-Law’s special expertise.

Sister-in-Law was also especially loving to Granny and Pa; our grandparents and the kids’ great-grandparents. She would visit them, purchase things they needed, invite them to stay on extended visits and just sit and talk to them. Sister-in-Law loved Granny and Pa very much as they did her.

And Sister-in-Law was an extremely giving person. She enjoyed shopping and finding unique gifts for all those she cared about. One of my most treasured items is a black, iron Chanukah Menorah that Sister-in-Law gave us many, many years ago. I think of her every year when we kindle the lights of Chanukah. And even this past holiday season, Sister-in-Law went out of her way to get a Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson Jersey for Youngest Son. He was thrilled with Aunt Sister-in-Law’s gift especially when Seattle went on the win the Super Bowl. Youngest Son was just wearing this treasured jersey yesterday.

Sister-in-Law was smart, intelligent, beautiful, caring, clever, witty, artistic, imaginative, handy, giving and funny. And all these qualities will live on in Nephew, Niece #1 and Niece #2 who are her legacy.

So today, we celebrate the far too short time with had with Sister-in-Law. Her memory will always be honored and present in the home of her loving family where
·      Thoughtful Nephew will embody her spirit
·      Sweet Niece #2 will show her heart
·      Funny Niece #3 will provide her humor

And Brother will provide the strength and unconditional love as this family moves forward.

My heart and love is with each of you now and always. 


In July 2011, Sister-in-Law visited us with the kids. This series of pictures shows five happy kids (Oldest Son, Youngest Son, Nephew, Niece #1, Niece #2) with their hilarious Mother/Aunt. On this Summer evening, we were blasting coca-cola ... the events in chronological order tell the story:

The Legacy of Brother, Sister-in-Law, Commuter Husband and me. Pure Joy. 

Thank you Sister-in-Law. May you truly rest in peace. 


  1. You are a beautiful writer for those you remember, my friend. An extraordinary gift during profoundly trying times. My heart is with you.

    1. Thank you Sallie - so much. We all try to "do something" and this is my small thing ...