Now that Holy Week and Easter have passed, I want to return to Make It Matter Monday, at least for a while. Today’s post is about my sister, Anne Marie Evans Lyle. The post is a little long, but that is because she is such a special person. Love you, Marie!
My Sister, My Best Friend
My sister, Marie, was born six years before me. Growing up, the six years difference in age caused a gap in our relationship. Not that we didn’t love each other, because we did, but we just didn’t have the same interests or the same set of friends.
As we grew older, the gap wasn’t so wide and we became and remain the best of friends. We try to get together at least once a month for a meal, or shopping, anything that we can do together. And we always have fun, no matter what we do.
One year we went Christmas shopping at a local mall. We found a parking place in front of our favorite store and entered the mall through that store. When we entered, I said, “We need to remember where we came in so we will know what door to go out of when we’re ready to leave.” Marie agreed and we noted there was a children’s winter coats display just inside the door. We shopped for several hours and then went back to the store where we entered. We walked around the store looking for the children’s coats display. It wasn’t there.
“We must have missed it,” I said. We circled the store for a second time. No children’s coats display. Nowhere.
Marie started giggling. “Leave it to us to get lost in a department store.”
We both laughed. “That would be us,” I said. “Let’s go around the store one more time.”
“Okay,” Marie agreed.
We walked around the perimeter of the store for a third time. As we neared the place where we had started, I remembered that the men’s department had been directly behind the display of children’s coats. Now we were almost at the men’s department. And right in front of the department, just inside the door where we had entered, men’s winter coats were on display. While we had been shopping, the coat display had been changed! Marie and I looked at each other and laughed so hard, we had tears running down our face.
There was the time when I ripped my kneecap off. I won’t tell you what I was doing at the time. Suffice it to say, it was one of the dumbest ideas I ever had. I had to have surgery to reattach the kneecap and wore a hip-to-ankle brace for almost three months. Marie was at my house the day I arrived home from the hospital. She finished the project I had been working on when I fell and injured my knee, and she brought dinner. All of this when her son broke his leg two nights before playing high school football.
A few weeks after my surgery, my 96-years-old grandmother fell and broke her hip. I wanted to go see her, but of course, I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even sit in the front seat of the car because the brace did not allow me to bend my knee. And I had strict instructions from my doctor that the brace was to remain on 24/7, except to shower. So Marie borrowed a car that was the size of a small yacht. But the back seat extended from door to door and that allowed me to sit down on the edge of the seat, and wiggle my way to the other end. Imagine trying to do that in a dress. By the time I had gotten to the other side, Marie and I were laughing at how ridiculous I looked sliding across the seat. Marie chauffeured us to the hospital and pulled up to the handicap ramp in front. I began the slow, aggravating wiggle to the door. Almost there, I looked up and standing at a window on the second floor was our dad and mom and most of our aunts and uncles. They were laughing so hard, the window started to fog up. As usual, Marie and I started giggling and I could barely get out of the car and into my wheelchair from laughing so much.
Not that it’s all been fun and games. We’ve had our very serious times that without her presence and her wisdom, I know I would not have made it through those situations with any dignity or peace.
When my parents began to get feeble and no longer could stay by themselves, my sister and her husband bought his childhood home, remodeled one end of the house and built our mom and dad a bedroom, with a small sitting area, and a bathroom. We moved our parents into their new ‘home’ during March 2011 and until August 2013 my sister was their caregiver. As Mother became more ill, Marie arranged for a home health care agency to begin visiting. She rearranged their bedroom, and to a large degree, her house, to accommodate a hospital bed, and later on, an oxygen unit. She gave mother her baths, administered her morning, noon and evening medicine, and prepared mother and daddy their breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks every day. There came a point when mother could no long feed herself, and so Marie would patiently feed her.
When Marie and her husband needed to get away, I would go up for the weekend and stay with mother and daddy. But for 90% of their time in her home, Marie took care of both of them. My Mother was a wonderful woman, but not always the best of patients. Never once, did I hear Marie complain about anything she had to do for mother—not even the worst jobs. I am sure Marie will receive many jewels in her heavenly crown because of the compassion she showed our mother.
My mother passed in August of 2013. Even though her passing was expected, it was still very difficult. Marie was a solid rock over the next few days of planning the service and all the details involved. She helped my dad, and all of us, go through those days as best as we could.
My dad continued to live with Marie and her family after my mother passed. But he was heartbroken, and missed my mother so much, that he passed six months almost to the day after my mother. Again, Marie’s strength and wisdom got us through the next few days. Not that she didn’t grieve, because she did, especially after daddy died. It was almost like having the empty next syndrome, because there was no one for her to watch over and care for.
If there were a picture besides Proverbs 31, verses 18-31, the passage known as “The Wife of Noble Character,” it would be a picture of Marie.
- She has provided for her family since she married (vs. 15) Marie has always made sure her family is taken care of, even before she takes care of herself.
- She is a hard worker and excels at all she does (vs. 17) Marie has always worked hard at every job, outside the home, and in the home, and has always done an outstanding job.
- She is compassionate and always helps those less fortunate (vs. 20) Marie is full of compassion to those less fortunate and is constantly cooking meals for those who have been hospitalized, or those who has had a death in their family
- She is a strong and dignified woman and because of her faith in God, she is able to laugh at the days to come (vs. 25) I know Marie doesn’t think so, but she is a strong woman. She has been through much and has been made a stronger woman and her faith has increased because of what she has faced.
- She is wise (vs. 26) Marie is smart, but she is also wise—and there is a difference. Marie seeks the wisdom of the Lord and follows His instructions.
- She watches over the affairs of her household and makes sure her family is taken care of (vs. 27) Every day, Marie looks over her children, their spouses and children to make sure they are okay. And although I don’t know this for a fact, I’m sure she continues a tradition our parents started many years ago. I’m sure Marie calls out the names of her sons, their wives and their children in prayer every day.
- “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” (Vs. 29)
This is Marie, my sister and best friend.
Edwina Cowgill has published 600+ blogs on her blog site, www.musingsofedwina.com. Her memoir, Abandoned Into the Heart of God, will be published later in 2016.