She was born on Valentine's Day, so hearts and love are always a part of her.
When we were little and shared a room, she never liked for me to snuggle with her at night--much to my disappointment. She wanted her space to sleep. She outgrew her love for dolls and Barbies long before I did--again, much to my disappointment. Our gifts from Mom and Dad often were the same or very similar, but of a different color. Most of the time hers was pink or purple and mine was blue or green.
When we were in junior high and high school, we didn't know it was okay to like each other. We spent more time fighting over who was going to wear what or arguing over what time was the right time to leave for school. I guess you could say we couldn't live with each other, but probably thought we could have lived without each other.
When she moved off to college and we didn't live with each other, we had a hard time living without each other. We discovered beneath all the arguing and fighting that there was a friendship just waiting to be given a chance. We quickly became best friends during long phone conversations and my visits to campus on weekends to stay in the dorm with her. The only time she didn't like me then was when people mistook me for her older sister just because I was several inches taller than she was.
When I stood beside her at the altar as she married the love of her life, I could not have been more proud, and it had nothing to do with the hours I spent sewing six bridesmaid dresses. I was beside her as her dream came true, and her gain was my gain as well--I now had a new friend in the process and had two people to love instead of just one.
When I visited her kindergarten classroom for the day, I realized that she not only found a place for her education to be used, but she had found the ministry God had for her. Those little 5-year-olds were more than just her students to teach; they were "her" babies to love and to kiss their boo boos and to let them know they were special, even though they may not have had another person in their life to tell them so.
When I received the phone call that she was suddenly very, very sick, I didn't think my heart could hurt more. When the doctors said there was nothing more they could do, I realized it not only hurt, it was broken.
When I stood at the altar beside the love of my life, tears of sadness mixed with my tears of joy because she wasn't there beside me, sharing in my dream come true, gaining a new friend of her own.
When my babies breathed their first breaths and cried their first cries, I cried because they would be missing out on knowing Aunt Susan. This side of heaven anyway.
She's been with Jesus for over eight years now, and I miss her. When it's my turn to meet Jesus, it will be her face that I anxiously seek out in that "great cloud of witnesses."