Bon Voyage, Sister in Law

I used to love springtime. Many of my loved ones celebrate their birthdays this beautiful time of year, everything that blossoms is going crazy, and finally, there’s strawberries in abundance again. Yeah, spring is usually a time to look forward to. Sadly, it’s also a time for remembering absent friends. I always think of my dad on his birthday, the 7th of May, who would have been 103 this year. A day later, I think of my father in law who passed away 3 years ago. And now, my late brother’s wife chose to follow her husband yesterday night, also on the 8th of May… I could easily be drinking to absent friends for 3 days straight.

Dorothee was one of the most formidable women I ever met. She was a political theorist and historian, a brilliant mind, and a very opinionated and headstrong person. She was the Yin to my brother’s Yang, and may well have saved his life when they met, because he was lonely and depressed and a barely functioning alcoholic. She got him to open up and talk, she made him laugh and all of a sudden, he was sweet and happy. I’ve rarely seen two people more devoted to each other. As is often the case with very symbiotic couples, she didn’t last long without him. She was diagnosed with Leukemia only a matter of weeks after he died. She took one round of chemo simply because she wanted to recover well enough to be able to put her affairs in order and not leave a mess for her only daughter – admirable, right? When we first spoke after she went into treatment, the worry about her baby girl (who’s almost 30;-)) was weighing heavily on her mind, and she asked me to promise to look after her. In my opinion J is not even remotely as fragile as her mom thought. In fact, she’s pretty badass and not only because of her awesome tats. She was by her mom’s side all the way, and she kept her games producing circus going anyway… I doubt she’ll be needing me all that much. But of course I’ll always be there for her.

When I last spoke to my sister in law, she said she was looking forward to reconnecting with the love of her life. Here she is (with a little piece of her sweet daughter whom I cut out for privacy reasons). Doesn’t she look Zen?

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It was an honor having known her. May she be well on the other side.

 

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