Since my sister Holly passed away, I’ve wanted to write down some memories. To tell of what a great sister she’s been and how I will miss her when she’s gone. I’m not good at pulling memories out just like that. I tend to have a very photographic memory, and most of the photographic memories I have of Holly were of us as kids. It seemed weird to write about our childhood relationship, when my friendship with Holly was much more as we became older, but I struggled to put the more recent memories into words.
The other night, for a completely unrelated reason, I was reading some old journal entries when Holly’s name lept off the page at me. It was a special memory, and it came alive as I remembered it again. Then I realized, I have all sorts of digital remnants of our friendship. So I went searching and discovered a bunch of old emails, texts, and journal entries. They paint a picture that reminds me of her and I thought I’d share some of them.
Sept. 19, 2006 My Journal
Its crazy cause I’m sitting here doing something Holly would do in that I’m just writing down whatever comes to mind just for the fun of it.
Holly always kept a journal. I have no idea what she wrote about, but I do know it inspired me to write my own, which later led to the more public writing in this blog.
July 6, 2007 My Journal
We got back and had dinner and then Holly and I went for a canoe ride. We were following a Great Blue Heron for a while and he kept flying just a little further. Then we went after something that I thought was moose but we think was actually a loud bullfrog.
Thinking back, I remember this canoe ride fondly. I still have a picture of the heron we were chasing. During our teen years, Holly and I didn’t get along very well, but after I moved away to university I made an attempt to keep in touch through email. It never really stuck with my other siblings, but Holly and I emailed on and off for a number of years. This canoe trip was special, because we had become friends again and were doing things together. I think it was even Holly that suggested we go canoing. She had this way of always thinking of me if we forgot to communicate. Sometimes it would be months, but there was always a text or email if I lost track of time.
Mar. 4, 2008 Email From Holly
Beunos dias.. blah blah blah
translation: Good morning my dear brother.
(just fill in “blah blah” when you dont know the spanish is my motto)
March 10, 2010 Email From Holly
Subject: Re: hi
Since you already said hi in the subject line does that that mean I’m off the hook for saying hello too.. or doesn’t that count?
Holly’s emails were usually very light hearted, going over the little details of the day. She had this way of writing that reminds me of her. I won’t post too much of her emails, but when I read them now, I hear her voice, giggling at the little blessings of life. She had a unique, but great sense of humour.
Sept. 15, 2010 Email From Holly
I had a really nice 8 days with Jeff & we’re officially “courting”. 🙂 I’m super excited about it.. He’s an awesome guy… you approve?
She also wrote about more serious things. She sent an email(which I still have) early in her courtship with Jeff, asking her friends for advice on what a God centered relationship would look like. I remember when Jeff came to visit from BC for the first time, Holly really wanted to make sure that the two of us met. It meant a lot to me that she cared what I thought.
Jan 4, 2012 Text From Holly
Happy half birthday!
Leave it to Holly to remember something like this. I wonder if she had it on a calendar or something, because she remembered multiple years in a row.
July 4, 2012 Text From Holly
Happy Birthday from the mountains!
July 5, 2012 Text From Holly
Bald eagle just flew over 🙂
July 9, 2012 Text From Holly
It is one of my greatest wishes 4 u that u get 2 drive the trans canada from Bc to Alberta. Cant help but know ud LOVE this.
Holly always enjoyed hearing about my road trips, and she managed to make it to the mountains the year before I would see them. I received a number of texts while she was out there. She knew I’d appreciate hearing about what she was seeing. The following year, knowing that I was going out west, she got me a petro canada gift card, to pay for some gas on my trip. I used the card to buy gas, which was in my car when I drove to Stewart BC, Hyder Alaska, and the Salmon Glacier. I don’t know if she remembered me telling her, but she always commented that my pictures from Stewart were some of her favourites.
Dec. 6, 2010 My Journal
Last week I looked at Isaiah 35 since Holly mentioned it to me, and in verse 4 it talked about comforting the fearful hearts…and then the verse ends with “He is coming to save you”. Those words just jumped out of the page and were on my mind for the next while. Just the thought that God is making his way here right now, to save me, is an awesome thought.
2010 was a hard year for me, as I was begrudgingly landscaping while trying to find a software job. Every now and then Holly would recommend encouraging verses for me to read. This is the only one I have written down as being specifically from her, and Isaiah 35:4 has been a favourite verse of mine since. (I originally read it in the NLT and still prefer that translation of the verse)
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”
The personal emails were less frequent after Holly and Jeff were married, as they became more general family updates. I don’t write in my journal much anymore either. We still texted decently regularly, and when I was home, we would often chat for a bit.
These digital memories probably make our friendship sound better than it actually was, as often there would be long periods were we just didn’t take the time to communicate, but these are the highlights that I will remember. In some ways it isn’t that different without her around. In other ways, I miss her a lot. She was always there to say hi and let me know she was thinking of me, with prayers and encouragements. There’s so much more that could be said, and this record is only a very small piece of her life, but this is where my digital remnants run dry.
Every now and then a memory comes to mind that has Holly in it and I’m reminded that she is gone. I imagine these moments will continue to happen for a long time but, whenever I do think of her, the thing that brings a tear to my eye is the thought that we will see each other again and it will be a glorious reunion.