For My Sister, Mary Anne, On Her Birthday

Mary Anne, around 1990.

For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve had a sister.  Mary Anne was born on May 13, 1974.  She suffered greatly as child, being sandwiched between myself as the youngest child, and our older brother Marty, who is 4 years older than her.  She was the dreaded middle child, and on top of that was the only sister/daughter in the family.

If I think back to people who taught me over the years, Mary Anne probably taught me more than anyone.  She would come home from school and teach me the things she had learned.  I always knew that she loved me.  She tolerated me for years as I would steal her Barbie dolls and torture them, making them play with my He-Man and A-Team action figures.  She endured countless times of me telling on her for doing something she probably didn’t do.  She never killed me for picking up the phone and listening on her conversations.

I remember as young children, we would put a record on the record player or a cassette in the tape player and sing along, giving concerts to anyone who would listen.  I remember always begging her to play with me as we got older, but she insisted on reading a book.  As we both got older, I think we got closer to each other.

I’ll never forget when she went to college.  On the way to Freed Hardeman to drop her off, I kept playing the song “Letting Go” by Suzy Boggess over and over again.  When we drove away, and I looked in the rear window as she walked back to her dorm room, I wept.  My sister and friend was entering into a new stage of her life, and I wasn’t going to be a part of it.

Mary Anne and her beautiful picture while undergoing chemo.

While she was in college, she always supported me in everything I did.  She came home to see my plays and theatrical productions.  She came to listen to the chorus sing.  She would bring her friends home from college, and she never tried to hide me away.  She wanted me to be a part of the group.

At the beginning of April of 2009, my wife Kristen and I moved to Houston, TX.  We had been here about a week when my parents called me and told me that Mary Anne had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  My heart sank.  I was no where near her, and wasn’t going to be able to help her through this time.  It was not me, or anyone else for that matter,

that was an inspiration to her, but rather she was an inspiration to all of us.  She took it in stride, and came out victorious.  Daily she would post encouraging Bible verses applicable to the junk she was going through.  She impacted many through that time in her life.

As it happens often in life, my sister and I have grown apart somewhat.  Its inevitable that when families are hundreds of miles apart that the closeness is hard to maintain.  However, Mary Anne has always had an impact in my life, and will always continue to do so.  Her husband, Kevin, and her two children, Faith and John Derrick, will always be blessed to have such a Godly woman in their lives.

Mary Anne, you will always be my sister, and even though we’re not together on your special day, know that I love you, and that you’ve always been a friend and great sister.  I count it an honor to have you as a sister, and I can’t wait to see you again.  May God bless you on your birthday.  May he bless you with many more!

At the Titans' game on Christmas Eve with Mary Anne and her husband Kevin.

2 comments on “For My Sister, Mary Anne, On Her Birthday

  1. Lane,

    It was really nice to meet you last week. Keep up the good work here on the blog. It is so refreshing to see people doing so much good for the kingdom of God!

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