My older sister, Joanne Wise Williams, died last Monday. She was 84.
Joanne was almost 16 years older than I. I used to open her closet and gaze at her beautiful dresses, hoping that someday I would have dresses as pretty as that.
She got married when I was nine. I got to be a Junior Bridesmaid, while my younger sister was the Flower Girl. And I had a beautiful dress too!
So many Thanksgivings, and Christmases, babysitting jobs, family gatherings... one time when I was in college she let me have a party in her rec room, and I babysat on New Year's Eve so she and my brother-in-law could go out.
I'm so grateful that Joe and I were able to take her to Ireland so that she could visit Avoca, near Dublin. Why Avoca? It's where her favorite TV show, Ballykissangel, was filmed. I confess I was little nervous - she was 79, after all - but she was a complete trooper. Avoca, Glendalough, Newgrange, the Hills of Tara and Slane, the Guinness Storehouse, the Book of Kells, and more - Joanne did it all with us. It was a wonderful trip.
She was the most purely good person I ever knew.
I'll miss her more I can say.
I know you walked right into Heaven, Joanne. Put in a good word for me, okay?