When my dad remarried, I didn’t just inherit a new mother, I also accumulated a great bunch of aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives. Sometimes it was overwhelming when we all got together.
In particular, my new step-mom had a couple of sisters who were a little younger than I was – just a year or two. Today I will focus on Donna, the elder of the two, and at some other date I will share a few things about Debbie.
What I didn’t really know until some time later was that Donna had an older brother (John) who had been killed in an unfortunate accident when he was just a toddler. He and I would have been about the same age if he had lived and I have often wondered if that didn’t have some influence on future events between Donna and me.
Let me say right off that I was not a very good “nephew” to Donna. One of my favorite things (being a tormentor by nature) to do was remind her friends that little Donna had a nephew who was older than she was. For the most part, she was pretty good about it, but when we were teens, she and Debbie went through a stage where they introduced us as their ‘cousins’ (my brother Jim was also older). Mostly I endured the change but once in a while I would try to embarrass them, resulting in the ‘icy glare’ girls use so well.
Despite my efforts to be a ‘heel’, Donna was always sweet and kind. We did have a few little spats on the ranch in Utah, but I take the blame for the difficulties (I was on her territory, she was very protective, and I love to torment as noted above). At that young age, she was way more mature than I would be for several years.
As time rolled along, I discovered something that came as a surprise to me. In spite of the difficult circumstances and some resistance I may have felt at the beginning, I had grown to love “Little Donna” as much as I loved any of my own brothers and sisters. She was smart and wise and had a faith that overcame difficult obstacles. She loved everyone and tried her best to make them comfortable in the circumstances of the day.
Being a little backward socially, I was very grateful for her help as we grew up and ventured out into the world. I would even say that over the years Donna became more like a sister to me
than an ‘auntie.’
Donna is married now and has a wonderful family of her own. And she continues to show me what it takes to live well in mortality.
I think of her often as I struggle with personal issues – she is suffering greatly at this time in her life. Often, I long for the days when we were kids so we could go back to Boulder and be happy-go-lucky friends once again.
My good friend and ‘little sister’ is a powerful example of what good can come from hard circumstances. She endures well and will be a guiding light to me and all who know her.
Thanks, Donna, for being much more than my friend