After 16 years, memories are all I have.

It’s not secret around here that my sister died on this date in 2002. I talk about it a lot. I’m sure folks wonder why I talk about it so much, but I do. I need to be able to remember her.  I feel her voice slipping away these days, the smell of her, the feel of her hands when they would wrap around my back to give me a hug before we parted ways. I don’t want to lose those, but I know that I am. They are all things that require the person to still be around and submitting physical things to input into your memory. I haven’t had that for 16 years. Before I had a cell phone that wasn’t based on a minute plan. Before digital cameras were actually good. Before the surge in being on social media networks to write down what I didn’t want to forget. 

Instead, I do have several years worth of FB posts where I try very hard to convey what I miss about her. The kind of life she lived, and who she was as a person. I’ll share them here – I suspect this is more for me, than you all, but thanks for sticking around either way. 

Also, you can enjoy the evolution of Facebook status writing over the years. 

2009

– is remembering her little sister Jessica on this day. Love you sis!

2010

– 8 years ago today, I lost my bestest friend. I love and miss you Jessica Denise Taylor! Your four nephews and one niece would have LOVED to be spoiled rotten by you, however I know that you are looking over them from that wondrous place above.*

*this was before the twins were even thought about*

2011

– On this day 9 years ago, I lost my earthly sister. In exchange I’ve gained her namesake, and twins to help keep my heart filled until I get to see her again. I Love you Jessica, and SOMEONE will have some explaining to do about your nieces personality, and the fact that I’m a mother of twins!!! I miss you daily.

2012

– Jessica D. Taylor – June 17, 1983 – February 25, 2002. I miss you baby sister. All my love.

2013

– Sisters share that unique & special relationship that combines friend and family – a bond that is at the same time supportive and enduring. The woman who shares her life with a sister is blessed. – JDT – 6/17/83 – 2/25/02

I miss this kid. She looked past all that was wrong with me and never threw it back in my face. From being able to sign to each other across a room without anyone knowing what we were talking about, to erupting into a fit of giggles when one of us saw someone that we thought was cute, she was my buddy. I was the navigator of the city, and she was always the person riding shotgun. ALWAYS. It didn’t matter where I was going, she was always by my side. She was the first person I told that I was pregnant with Nathaniel, and the FIRST thing she said was “Don’t name my nephew anything ridiculous! If you’re gonna get into trouble next week, let’s go out and celebrate having the best kid around right now.” I miss Jessica SO much, and this year is so difficult for me. Please pray for my mom and dad, and my brothers too. Thanks.

2014

– Today is a day of mixed emotions. Nathaniel is taking his graduation photos, starting the countdown to the end of an era. Today marks 12 years since Jessica has been gone. Today I also take the twins BY MYSELF to the dentist (which they love – so there’s that) and then, I’m available to think a bit. I’m not sure that I want to do that. Too emotional. Sometimes I wonder if Jessica is watching us and giggling. I’d like to think that, because, then it makes my random laughter that much more awesome and not weird! JDT 6/17/83 – 2/25/02

2015 – 

Avoided Facebook almost all day because I thought that I would be horribly sad. I am sad, but I had an impromptu storytelling session with the three amigos about their aunt Jessica.

About all of the times that she conned me into coming to her high school to get her early dismissals because I was finally 18.

How she pretended that my apartment in Wisconsin was hers, and REARRANGED THE FURNITURE to fit HER desires.

How she would burn my scented candles while I was away at work.

How she would ALWAYS take something from a house that she spent the night over, and have you thinking that you were okay with it.

How her eyes would almost completely close when she smiled fully.

How she went from being a wallflower to bigger than life itself.

How she became confident about everything. You couldn’t tell that girl that she wasn’t fine.

How she was just an awesome sister in every aspect.

She listened intently – so intently that if you were telling her a story, she’d mouth the words right along with you.

She was forgiving – still a characteristic that I haven’t mastered.

Secretly, she was just as snarky as I am, she was just wrapped in a more loveable exterior. I remember right after I had Nate, someone asked if they could hold them, and without missing a beat, Jessica said – Why? Didn’t you call my sister all types of names when she was pregnant. Only awesome people get to hold my nephew. She was dead serious too.

When she set her sights on something, nothing could stop her.

She’s greatly missed, but she left a heck of a legacy, one that I hope to continue to pass on to my children, and even though none of them REALLY were aware of her, I hope they pass on the stories of their aunt to generations to come.

2017

Jessica Denise Taylor 1983-2002 I miss you sister.

2018

16 years ago on this date, my first very best friend ever died. She was 18 years old and so very full of life. 
She couldn’t drive. 
She was a GREAT passenger though. 
She borrowed all of my clothes.
She even made me go crazy with the revisionist history of ownership with a specific pair of earrings. 
But God gave her to me to make me a big sister. 
He thought I was special enough to have her. 
And He let me experience her love, joy, annoyance, forgiveness for 18 years, 8 months and 8 days. 
She showed me how to be kind to people when they aren’t nice to you. 
She also taught me the lesson of knowing when kindness needs to be put on hold and you demand what’s due to you after services rendered. 
She lives on in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY CHILDREN. 
The planning of Nathaniel for HIS events. 
The genuine love of strangers of her namesake, Jessica.
The beyond her years words of Penelope.
The random giggling and desire to spend time alone with me of Zachary. 
These little gifts allow me to keep her memory alive in a much better way than I would have if left to my own devices. 
I miss her so much my heart aches. I weep often, but I had her as the best example of what true sisterhood looked like. 
What it means to love hard and argue. 
What it means to forgive even when you don’t feel like it because forgiveness leads to freedom and joy. 
I’m finding the joy Jessica. I’m finding it everyday. 
Miss you.

Thanks for sticking with me for so many February 25ths. I appreciate you all being around. 

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