Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In Memoriam, a living eulogy

On this, the eve of my sister's birthday, I wish to share with you a knock-knock joke.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Abbi who?
Abbi Birthday to you!

I talked with Abra today and she has no plans for her birthday. They just celebrated Piper's birthday and are having her friends' party soon, Thanksgiving was yesterday, Deklan's birthday is coming up and so Abra, as the parent, has gotten lost in the shuffle of all the other celebrations.

We, though, have not forgotten, and decided to get together and share some of our favorite memories we have of her. (On a more personal note, we would have mailed you a package, Abra, but the package mom sent a few weeks ago still hasn't gotten there--we are currently lacking faith in the postal system).

Here are some of our special memories about you:

Dad says: Abbi was a very dancy child. She loved to dance and spin around. One day, at the stake centre in Burnaby, she was on the stage with her friends spinning and dancing around. She spun herself into the curtain. As she unwound herself (being rather dizzy) she stepped right off the stage and landed smack on her face. Ouch!

Mom recalls: Abbi was such a diligent little pianist. Every morning, she was our alarm clock, since she would wake up at about 6 AM and head directly for the piano. We would wake up to a half-hour recital, as she would play every song she knew besides practicing what she was currently learning. One morning Mom got up and stepped into the living room. As usual, no glasses first thing in the morning—she looked at Abbi, and she looked so FAT. Fatter than normal! So Mom went and got her glasses and looked again. Yes, she did look fatter!!

Mom said, “Abbi, why does your bottom look funny? Do you have something on under your pants?”

Abbi, looking guilty, said, “No…”

Mom said, “Well, let me see.”

And there, under Abbi’s pants and shirt was her beautiful, floor length, white chiffon dress. Because it was floor length and white chiffon, she wasn’t allowed to wear it to school—something that children can’t understand but parents can. She had it all wadded up, thereby making her bottom appear fatter than normal—hoping to take off her pants at school and wear her beautiful dress!

Kelli and Abra are 361 days apart--meaning that they are the same age for four days of every year. Kelli remembers going to the mall with Abra between their birthdays with the goal of confusing people.

"How old are you?" someone would ask.

"Thirteen," one of the two would answer.

"And how old are you?"

"Thirteen," the other one would say.

"Well, aren't you two sisters?"

"Yes," they'd respond.

"I didn't think you were twins..." the person would wonder.

"We're not."

In addition to confusing people about their ages, Abra and Kelli went through a phase where they would speak quizzical nonsense in front of their friends and pretend to understand each other.

"Smiggity garbonzonataoila mungoondong," one would say.

"Arf glibble smeet," the other would say and leave the room to retrieve something.

Upon returning to the room, they would hand the item to the other and say, "Ghligi smeet,"

To which the other would respond, with gratitude, "Rigadomiguelia."

They convinced plenty of friends that they had their own language.

David remembers how Abra took him to his first stake dance and let him hang out with her friends. She taught him dance etiquette and told him "never to miss a slow dance." She and her friends encouraged him on the dance floor and taught him all the latest dance moves, really helping him get into the dancing scene. I guess in a way he owes his love of dancing to Abra, since she was the one who introduced him to social dance.

He also recalls how she once borrowed his wallet...and lost it. He was really upset about it because he likes to keep track of his things. So, being the good big sister that she is, she called the restaurant that she lost it at and got it back into David's hands.

Abra and I shared a room for a while. She would sing me to sleep almost every night. I thought she had the most beautiful voice. She would also let me stay up (unbeknownst to our parents) and we would play with make-up together. We'd paint our nails and she'd give me make-overs.

Other nights we didn't get along so well. I was a gullible child and believed everything she told me. One night my dad and brother went to see Jurassic Park. I was sad because I had to go to bed before they got home.

Abra told me, "The reason why they're late is because they didn't go to the movie...they went to the actual park. They've probably just been eaten by dinosaurs. Nothing to worry about."

I was still worried, but we proceeded to our bedroom through our dimly lit basement. Just before I turned on our bedroom light, Abra made the most awful dinosaur noise I had ever heard. I started screaming and screaming.

She definitely had to sing me to sleep that night.

Later when we no longer shared a room, I missed her company and would do anything I could to spend time with her, including: cleaning her room, walking across town to go shopping with her, and getting up at 5 in the morning to go to work at the pool with her. One of the hardest days of my life was moving a thousand miles away from her.

When Patrick was 4, he attended preschool at the recreation center near our home in PoCo, which was right across the street from George Pearkes Jr. Secondary School, where Abbi was a student. One day, Mom had to go and get an ultrasound (pre-Josie) and so the plan was that after lunch, Mom would drop Abbi and Patrick both off at Patrick’s preschool, Abbi would take him in to class, and then go across the street to school. Then Mom could leave to get to the Port Moody Hospital in time for her ultrasound appointment.

Well, when Abbi and Patrick got to his classroom, there was a note on the door that class was cancelled. Abbi decided to take Patrick to school with her. He remembers sitting under her desk (to hide from all the big kids) and drawing. Abbi and her friends would lean down and give him different pens and pencils to use. He actually had a really good time at school that day.

Patrick also remembers that for his birthday, Abbi gave him his first Book of Mormon, which he still has. It had her testimony in it, and encouraged him to read it and pray about it as she had done. That gift still means a lot to him.

Josie remembers how Abbi was such a good sport about hiring Josie and Tianna to clean her car. They were so excited by the pennies Abbi would give them for a job (more or less) well-done. One day, she really surprised them—she gave them a whole jar of pennies!! They were so happy. They spent hours counting and recounting their loot.

Billy says that he remembers how when they first got married she was a compulsive cleaner. The patterns on the dishes all had to be facing the same way in the cupboard and so forth. Now that they have three kids, she's relaxed a little, but he still can't help with the laundry. Whenever he folds the laundry, Abra will wait until he's not looking (so that she doesn't hurt his feelings) and then will take everything back out and refold it.

And just like she would get me to clean her room and Josie to clean her car, apparently she occasionally bribes Deklan and Piper to change Kai's diapers!

Thanks, Abra, for your example in our family, for being a wonderful sister, daughter, mother, wife, and friend. We love you!


  1. Thankyou so much My wonderful family :)

    Dad, I think I negated to tell you that my eyes were closed when I fell was twirling around in the curtain!

    Mom, turnabout is fairplay since I picked Piper up from school one day and she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but over her pants she was wearing her slip!

    Too funny, I remember the secret language talk... we truly had no idea what eachother were saying, but it worked so well ;P

    Weird, I totally don't remember losing your wallet David! Sorry! I'm glad you got it back though!

    Do you remember when you asked mom if I could sing with you guys at church, and mom, quite diplomatically told you that wouldn't be a good idea, that I didn't sing very well. You burst into tears and sobbed, "I think she has a beautiful voice!" You're so cute nanny, but there really is a reason why I sit at the piano :P

    I love you all thankyou so much,
    And Billy... could always help put AWAY the laundry!!!!

  2. Happy Birthday sweet Abbi. I love you. Love Mom

  3. Hey sis, I love you! Happy B-day!!!! We tried to call but you didn't answer......


  4. No, I went to bed early, so tired!!!