Sunday, April 19, 2020

My Sister Mary

I took this photo back in January while I was on a messenger video call with my sister Mary. She stepped outside into the front yard and these tree branches were above her head. I took a screenshot as she lined up the shot. We talked a lot in this way across the 4,200 miles that separated us, but when we talked like this it felt like I was right there with her. I'm glad that we had those talks. I will never forget them.

Our big sister Mary…as my brother Walter said on Facebook…got her wings on Friday. Our hearts are broken because we miss her, but as he mentioned, we have many wonderful memories of her to last throughout our lifetime.

Mary was a daughter, a big sister and an auntie to many and she was a nurse. One of my nieces affectionately called her “Nurse” and it brought Mary great delight because that was who she was…a nurturer always and that is one of the many things that I will remember about her. She was a big sister to William (she is reunited with him and our parents now), Annie, Grace, Geraldine, Walter, and me. As an auntie to our many nieces and nephews, she was their ride to school, nurse, friend and SO much more.

For me, Mary was like a second mother. I can trace so much of who I am today to all that she shared with me as I grew up. When my daddy passed away, I was only twelve. Mary was quite a few years older than me and without missing a beat, she stepped up to stand beside my mom to help raise me. She and Mama together made sure that I had what I needed. Even though my heart is broken, I take some comfort in knowing that I had the chance to thank her for what she did for me while she was still here. Mary, like all of my older brothers and sisters, had a great effect upon me as I watched them all in order to learn how to live.

Mary’s example made me love books…I would see her reading when I was little, and I know that that made me want to be like her and I thank her for that. Mary gave me my first taste of pizza, eclairs, fancy pastry and so many other foods. She was an adventurous eater and that was something that we shared. Mary was my cultural events buddy. One of the highlights was seeing the Alvin Ailey Dance Company with her and my mom one summer evening about sixteen year ago. She also made it possible for the teenage me to see Luther Vandross perform from the 3rd row!!!

Due to the coronavirus, I am not able to go home to be with my family right now and it breaks my heart just that bit more. These times are sad for many who have lost loved ones and cannot mourn them as usual. My sister did not have coronavirus, but I can relate to what many are going through at this time in the history of the world. It’s hard…so very hard.

When I think back on the time that we shared, I realize that a great many of the things that I love now are because she planted the seed in me since the day I was born. I can never thank her enough for her guidance and love throughout my life. I will miss her as all of my family and our friends will. She is not physically here anymore, but the love and memories of her will go on forever.

Thank you Mary, we love you!


Brit Boy said...

A beautiful tribute to a lovely lady. Mary will be so sorely missed by everybody who knew her. Once encountered, never forgotten!
She gave so much throughout her life and was loved by so many as a result. May she rest in peace, as she richly deserves to. We all miss you Mary.

Dori said...

Brit Boy,
Thank you for your beautiful words for Mary ❤

Jacqueline Thomas said...

Dori, thanks so much for sharing such warm and wonderful memories of your dear sister. Your tribute left me wishing I had known her. What a beautiful gift God gave to you. She was a very special lady and you were richly blessed by having her in your life. You and your family are still in our prayers.

Dori said...

I'm so grateful that I could share some memories of my wonderful sister Mary. She never met a stranger so I know that your meeting would have been a fun experience. She was a great conversationalist. Yes, I count myself very blessed to have experienced this life with her. She truly changed my life. Thank you for keeping me and my family in your prayers.

Sarah said...


That was beautiful to read what your sister meant to you and your siblings and how she steered you to wonderful things like books and new foods and cultural events. I am so sorry you lost the person you could share those things with, and wish you strength and peace as you try to forge a path without her. I hope it helps that everything you shared and she helped you love and experience keeps her with you, always.

Dori said...


Thank you for reading what I wrote about my amazing sister and I'm so glad that I could share what she meant to us with the world. She definitely lighted my path and her imprint upon me will be with me for the rest of my life. I do feel a hole in my life because she was my culture buddy, but I try to keep her in my thoughts when I come across something new. We will have that bond forever. I'm so grateful to have experienced this life with her :)