Oh, the Things She Left Behind

My oldest sister Barb passed away in late July. She owned a number of properties in the Harrisburg and Marysville areas. The main house she lived in for most of the years I knew her was on the Marysville side of the river. The last Saturday in September, our family gathered there and sorted through the things she left behind.

I brought home a whole carload of stuff that day. Everything from books to household implements to CDs and videos and clothing. My little sister, in charge of settling the estate, has been the driving force in all that has been accomplished; she had also packed up a small container of photos and papers and clippings and other mementos that I picked up at my mom and dad's house that day.

Last weekend, I went through about half the stuff, including the books, and I found that a cool walking stick had hitched a ride along home with us. On this day, I sorted through the remaining boxes and the papers and photos.

One of the things that came into my possession was a copy of a poem Barb wrote about our family many years ago. I always adored this poem and I thought my big sister was the most talented person I'd ever met, to be able to write such a thing. It makes me laugh every time I read it. (Though my husband did raise an eyebrow at the comment about my "boyfriends who flock around in dozens.").  ;-) A transcript is provided below.

I have mentioned the beach trips that my sister and I used to take. Atlantic City was our favorite, but we visited other beaches too. I found a poem my sister wrote about visiting the ocean in the morning, and it ended with these words:

"I recall that day
On the beach
And it saves me."

And I thought about that, and I realized that those beach trips saved me too. They have saved me a million times over and will probably save me a million times more.

I also got back some of my photo books and other gifts that I gave my sister, and cards and letters I sent her. They say that life is a boomerang, and that you get back what you throw into the Universe. You will reap what you sow, they say.

And that is especially true when someone dies. I'm getting it all back. All of the things I gave her. All of the loving words I wrote her. All of the things she saved about me. Everything. For in addition to all of the material things we're sorting through, this legacy of love is what my sister left behind..

The soundtrack song . . . I know I've used this one before but it's a favorite and I want it for this posting. Here's Warren Zevon, with Keep Me In Your Heart.


Dad and Mum got married
And moved out to the sticks,
To live in the hills and raise their kids--
At last count there were six.

Barbie is the oldest,
She'll not see teens again;
Nita just turned eight;
And Robin's almost ten.

Marilyn got married
And swelled the family more;
Pat's 17 and graduating;
Julie just turned four.

You'll find Pat with the animals,
She wants to be a vet;
Robin wants to play pro football
And he may make it yet.

Nita is a talker,
But Julie's even worse;
Marilyn is a mother;
And Barbie writes the verse.

Julie is the curlyhead;
They all have eyes of blue
Which they came by honestly
For their parents have them too.

Patty has her beagle;
Robin has his cousins;
Nita has her boyfriends
Who flock around in dozens.

Julie has her toybox;
Marilyn has her men
And her trailer and her in-laws;
And Barbie has her pen.

And so they're growing bigger
In height and weight and mind,
And the hills will be much quieter
When we've left them behind.

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