May 22, 1999. Exactly one year after her high school graduation. I didn't know that. That the day she died, the last day of her freshman year in college, was exactly a year to the day she had graduated high school. So it shocked me a little when Lora's youth minister re-read her high school graduation certificate at her funeral. [paraphrasing his thoughts here] "On May 22, 1998, I read this passage to Lora as part of her graduation ceremony. And on May 22, 1999, it applied again. Matthew 25:23: 'His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.'" Naturally, that got the entire congregation choked up. But it was also a comforting thought.
I remember her high school graduation. She went to a small, private school. One where all the kids are taught at their own pace. She was the lone graduating student in her class. So they combined her ceremony with our church's youth group senior class dinner ceremony. It was fitting, since she had grown up with those same kids. And it was such a supportive environment - the church lifting them all up and sending them off to college.
I was a surprise "guest speaker" at the ceremony - my speech was a graduation gift to her. She was overwhelmed and in tears. And after the speech, she sang a song - a gift to her fellow graduating friends from church - "Go Light Your World." It was a beautiful day.
I am sad and I'm smiling today, remembering what a light she was. I certainly don't want everyone to think I mope around crying all the time. In fact, I write about these things not to wallow, but to remind myself that it's okay to let stuff matter, to cry it out, and be inspired by it somehow. I don't have anything prepared for today's post, so I'll let my thoughts from her high school graduation stand as another fond memory and fitting tribute to our friendship as sisters.
Her christmas gift to me a few months later. I didn't know it would be our last Christmas, but I'm so lucky for her words.
(our last picture together, taken during my college graduation weekend)
edit: spelling correction, per mom.
2nd edit: fixed the link to my sister's christmas gift letter