My Sister’s Eulogy, July 21, 2023

NOTE: Many of you knew my sister, if only in my columns. After years of declining health, she recently left this world for the next. Knee surgery will prevent me from attending her memorial service. But I will be there in spirit, and in the words of this eulogy:

I am sorry I can’t be with you all today. Bobbie would not be pleased about it, but I think she’d forgive me. I just hope she’ll also forgive me for things I’m about to say.

Let’s start with a memory. When Bobbie was 8, she decided it would be fun to scare a boy who lived nearby. So she put a sheet over her head and went at him, trying hard to look and sound like a ghost. The boy was chopping wood. He tried to kill her with an ax. All that saved her was Cousin Sandy screaming, “No! That’s not a ghost! It’s just Bobbie!”

So many times over the years, I’ve shaken my head at something my sister did or said, and thought to myself, “Well, that’s just Bobbie.”

She always seemed to know what I needed to hear. When our parents split up, she told me not to worry, we would always stick together because sisters can’t get divorced.

When our brother was born blind, she said it wouldn’t hold him back, it would only make him stronger and his blindness wouldn’t matter except to people who didn’t matter at all.

When I won a scholarship and was heading off to college, leaving her with three small children and no free babysitter, she told me to have fun and make her proud.

When I moved to California of All Places to marry a Yankee, she flew out to be matron of honor at my wedding, and brought 4-year-old Wendi to be my flower girl.

When my husband died, she put me to bed and made me rest and helped my children and me to grieve. Then she took me to Mexico and made me pose for a photo with a live chimpanzee.

Years later, when I introduced her to my former editor, she told me straight-faced, if I didn’t marry him, she would. So I married him.

I could tell you a lot of stories about my sister. No doubt, you could tell me some stories about her, too. She was always a story just waiting to be told. And she could make me laugh like nobody’s business _ even if she wasn’t trying to be funny. But what I most want to tell you today are not stories, but things I think Bobbie would want you to know. I’ve thought and prayed about it, and I keep coming back to one simple word: Love.

Bobbie loved life. She loved her parents and grandparents, sister and brothers, aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins in a big crazy family that meant the world to us. She loved her children and grandchildren, her friends and neighbors and co-workers that she treasured. She even loved the patients that she treated as a nurse over the years. Well, most of them. And yes, she loved Elvis. And Willie Nelson. And fried chicken. She loved like a house on fire.

Was her love a perfect love? No. Only God can love with a perfect love. The rest of us just try to do the best we can. Bobbie tried to do her best. She loved us. And she always will.

People leave, but love remains. In days to come, when she visits us in memories, we will feel her love. And we will shake our heads and whisper, “That’s just Bobbie.”


  1. Bonnie Martin says

    Dear Sharon, I had an older sister, too and you sent me comforting words when she died fourteen years ago…that meant so much to me. Through out all the years I’ve read and loved each and every one of your columns I’ve felt I almost knew Bobbie and brother and the rest of the family you so lovingly and amusingly wrote about. I still miss my sister terribly and I know you will too but the memories will keep you company and you’ll always see her in your mind.

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