Dearest Sister Linnea-
You may not be among us physically this year, but by golly, I feel your presence. This is the first birthday you haven't been around, dear sister, after passing away earlier this year.
You might be surprised I'm writing this, given our relationship, but I miss you and wish you were here.
From Day 1, when Mom and Dad brought you home, just before New Year's Day, you were the yin to my yang. My polar opposite.
You liked punk rock. I liked jazz. You liked guys with facial hair. I didn't.
And that was only the beginning of our differing lifestyles, dear sister.
But somehow, we forged a bond, you and me.
When I was 18, and you were 17, you said to me "I wanna hang out with you, Al. I wanna be your friend." And we were.
You protected me, and I protected you. We learned to respect each other's lifestyles. You gave me courage..and sometimes the tools.. to do the things I wanted to avoid. Like locking my ex out of the house when it became dangerous to let him in.
Sometimes, when I have questions about Rosie, I still want to pick up the phone and call you. But then, I remember why she's mine. You're not here on Earth anymore.
I know you hated formal attention, but our family was so very proud of how far you came, and what you accomplished in this life...we just had to celebrate you! You may have thought that my Mother's Day piece was quite enough recognition for you. Or, the 'Day of the Dead' remembrance at Grace Lutheran Church, where our brother Roger spoke eloquently of you, your work, and your all-too-short time on this earth, and where your amazing photography was displayed.
And you gave me the greatest gift of all...ROSIE
But on your 55th birthday, your first in Heaven, I'm celebrating you. Here. I want people to know how proud I am of you, and who you were. That's my gift to you, Sister.
So, I'm re-printing the obituary Mom wrote for you, which was published in Oak Park's Wednesday Journal a few weeks after you passed.
I love you always.