Yesterday morning I was writing a check and I wrote down the date. 11/9/10.  I had this strange feeling that the date was important.  I did a quick mental inventory of birthdays and anniversaries and came up with nothing.  A few minutes later I gave up and went about my hectic day.  It wasn’t until a conversation with my father at the end of the day that I figured it out.  Thirty seven years ago on November 9th my sister passed away.  Noel lived just a few short weeks past her first birthday.  I never knew her…but in some strange way I feel like I did.

My father talked to me and to both of my brothers yesterday but they were not conversations of sadness.  It was more of a remembrance of love.  We are not a family of grave sitters.  While her remains may be at the cemetery, we feel that Noel is not really there.  She lives on a little in each of us.

Noel’s life has never been a secret to me.  There are pictures of her in frames around the house and dolls that belonged to her and then to me. There was no big family meeting during which her existence was “revealed”.  She has always been and always will be a part of our family.

Even though Noel’s life ended before mine began, I have always felt an ethereal connection to her.  I am not ashamed to admit that I have shed tears many times during my life because I longed to know her.  Would we have looked alike?  Acted alike?  Had similar handwriting?  Walked a comparable path in life?  Had like taste in friends or clothes?  Would I even be here if she had lived?  It is a great mystery for me.  It sounds like I spend a lot of time thinking about Noel but, like it or not, that is not true. I usually remember her on her birthday each year.  I don’t know why this time was different.  I don’t have an explanation for that tinge of familiarity yesterday morning.  Regardless, she is now on my mind.

I do often wonder how my parents dealt with her death.  Medicine wasn’t so modern then and her condition was not curable.  They had no choice but to accept her fate.  It is not lost on me that if medicine wasn’t so advanced as it is now, my daughter Laura would not be with us.  I cannot even bear that thought.  Now that I am a parent I realize that our time with our children under our wing is so very short.  My oldest daughter was born and before I could turn around she turned 9.  Where has the time gone? Have I impressed upon my children just how important they are to me? One can only hope.

Now it is the 10th and the anniversary of Noel’s death has passed by again. She had a large impact on our little family and we are all lucky, whether in reality or in our dreams, to have known her…


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