(and if you don’t know Ruth, read this post. You’ll love her.)

My sister sobbed through the phone when she called this morning. Sequestered in her bedroom, nestled in pillows and an old comforter; she didn’t want to go downstairs, to smile and face the cheer of the day.

You see, it’s her birthday

Last year, Ruth’s day fell on Easter. Even though her birthday is always during Easter season (she was born on Good Friday) it has only fallen on the actual day twice in her thirty-six years. And Oh! my mom celebrated Ruth last year.

Ruth came home to a house filled with flowers, balloons tied to chairs and crepe paper hung from the chandelier. Neatly wrapped packages littered the table and my parents had filled the refrigerator with ingredients for a sumptuous dinner. They went to church together and made dinner and my mother told bunny stories to the kids as the evening waned. It was, as both my sister and father remember it, the last good day.

I’d offered to fly to California for today; I knew it would be hard. But Ruth assured me she’d be fine and the challenges of a mommy being gone on a Monday are many. And so I stayed home and cried with her this morning as she asked, “How can a celebrate when my heart is broken?” She worried that she won’t be gracious to her friends and family; she’s worried that everyone is tired of her grief.

Oh how I understand! I feel like everyone around me is questioning, “Aren’t you better yet?”

In many ways, I am. And yet, not.

I find it difficult to accomplish much in a day. I drift a lot. Tears spring to my eyes far too often for me to consider wearing mascara again. And I sense that people are bored with my mourning– Move on! Get up! Accomplish something!– I’m struggling just to cover the basics.

With her added burden of a bad back, my sister feels like everyone in her life is anxious for her to feel better, to move on, to get up. She’s been forced to ask for so many favors and unable to reciprocate. Walking and driving are back in her repertoire but she still can’t heft a bag of flour or babysit for a friend.

And still, she inspires.

A few days ago Ruth was driving somewhere with her daughter Lizzy. At almost 13, Lizzy is 100% adorable but also loves to roll her eyes at her parents. Ruth said something about improving herself and Lizzy disagreed– “I don’t know what more you could do, mom. I’m in awe of you.”

It was a tender mercy for Ruth– who spent the past several months on the couch, crying, feeling impatient, gaining weight and trying to be the best mother she could– to hear that her efforts weren’t in vain.

I, Ruth, am in awe of you too.

the locket is part of my present to her– it’s so ‘Ruth,’ don’t you think?
April 4, 2010



  1. Sue

    April 12, 2010

    Ruth sounds like a wonderful sister…And there’s nothing better than having your nearly adolescent daughter pay you such a compliment!

    Hope her birthday turns out better than it began! I have a feeling it will.


  2. Selwyn

    April 12, 2010

    Mourning is hard. And important. “Mourning with those that mourn” is a great comfort.

    Beautifully written, M. L, SK

  3. Linn

    April 12, 2010

    Please add me to the list of those that stand in awe of Ruth.

  4. Christie

    April 12, 2010

    I am so sorry still. It’s got to be so hard. I can’t even imagine.

  5. Tasha

    April 12, 2010

    This post made me cry. I too am in awe of Ruth. Her injury has been a blessing for my family because it has enabled us to give back to her and get to know her better. Burdens truly can become blessings.

  6. crissy

    April 12, 2010

    Your sister sounds like an incredible woman. You are blessed to have each other.

  7. Jeanelle

    April 13, 2010

    Was I not reading your blog in 2008? I guess not because that was an all new post to me. Happy birthday to your dear sweet sister. So happy you have each other– there is nothing like a sister.

  8. Tifani says...

    April 13, 2010

    Happy Birthday to your sister, Ruth. What a beautiful gift to receive that kind of comment from a teen.

    And please don’t think that people are ready for you to be healed from the loss of your mom. Anyone that has lost someone so special to them knows that it is a long process and the longing will never completely go away. Take your time. We love you.

  9. Tracy

    April 13, 2010

    What a lovely post. Happy Birthday Ruth. Celebrate. Enjoy. Continue to mourn. It is okay to do them all.

  10. Michelle

    April 13, 2010

    And still, she inspires.

    So do you.

  11. Mitchell Family

    April 13, 2010

    Just as you said it would, the day did turn out better. But it sure was nice to call you and know that you would understand. I wore your necklace and mom’s earrings all day and kept telling myself that my sister and my mom are always with me.

  12. Ken

    April 14, 2010

    Thank you for the reference to last year’s blog too! I enjoy reading it again and again. We are blessed with wonderful daughters who love each other and show their love by caring service. I love and appreciate for both of you,

  13. Jordan

    April 22, 2010

    your sister is a gem! She inspires me everyday I am so lucky to spend my weekday mornings with her.

Comments are closed.