For those of you who haven't heard, I lost my sister on January 30th. I was asked by my Mom and Dad if I would speak at the funeral for the family. I couldn't think of a better way to pay tribute to my sister. Here is the tribute I spoke at the funeral.
"Amanda is 10 years younger than I am. I remember the day she was born and every milestone of her growing up... From the day she was born, to her first steps, to her first bike I was there to share it with her. One fond memory I have is that she would come into my room and we would crank up my stereo and sing and dance. Billy Ocean: Get Outta My Dreams (get into my car) was one of her favorite songs to sing along to. We would drive Mom and Dad crazy singing loudly, or maybe it was just that we sang off key so bad.
When I made the decision to leave California after graduation, I not only left the state, but I left my 9 year old sister behind as well. We talked on the phone and saw each other several times a year, but we lost the daily interaction we shared when we were younger. As we grew older, though we were miles apart, we still understood each other.
My sister started her family a little sooner than she had planned. (Following her big brothers lead) But, through hard work and sheer determination she finished college while raising a family. She wanted a career, but she wasn't willing to sacrifice her family for it. There wasn't anything my sister couldn't accomplish if she set her mind to it.
My sister and I could banter back and forth for hours on just about anything... We have always been pretty competitive with each other. Playing board games was always an all in adventure for us. Much to the delight of our parents, I think Dad was always keeping score for us mentally as we volleyed back and forth. I'm betting Amanda is gloating right now about how she got to walk in heaven with Grandma first.
After my accident, Amanda and I talked more than we had in the past. During one of our last conversations, Amanda said that she really wanted to be a better Aunt. She said that even though there was a physical distance, she could do a better job than she had been doing. She said she wanted to be more like our Aunt Jan was to us. We both agreed that we would work on it.
I draw strength knowing that she will not be forgotten. Her legacy is the live's on, through the lives that she touched and the 2 children that she brought into this world. Amanda will live on through both Jonah and Kendall. Her spirt is in them. I believe that it's our duty as friends and family to ensure that Kendall and Jonah always know exactly what kind of a person their Mom was.
Amanda, I don't know why God decided to take you from us now. I know that you are walking with Grandma now and that we will see each other again. You will be truly missed. I Love You Sis."
I ask that anyone wishing to pray for my family; please pray for Amanda's children and my Mom and Dad. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a child.