My Little Sister

by Ann Reardon Mullis '72

“A beloved daughter, devoted sister and wonderful friend, Rosemary Reardon, passed away unexpectedly on November 1, 2006, at her home in Tucson, Ariz. Rosemary was born on June 7, 1958, to Henry C. and Joan Reardon in Schenectady, New York… She attended school at Sts. Simon and Jude Elementary School and graduated from Xavier College Preparatory High School in Phoenix… She is survived by her father Henry of Phoenix, sister and brother-in-law Ann and Ron Mullis of Tallahassee, Florida, her niece Nicole Mears and her three children, her beloved yellow lab Trooper and numerous friends and extended family members.”

This was my little sister summed up in the words of her simple newspaper obituary. The magic of her creativity, the music of her laughter, the love for her family and friends silenced. Rosie had clear views of what she needed to do from her earliest days. As a child, she was quiet around strange adults. When queried about this at age four she responded, “They have nothing to say to me,” and refused to be pressured into conversing. When she was learning to swim, she persisted in swimming under water. Parents and instructors tried to get her to follow the standard Red Cross swimming model and her response was, “When I am five, I will swim on top,” and she did. As a young swimmer for the Arizona Desert Rats, she won age group trophies and held state records in her chosen events.

Because of our age difference, we were not particularly close until she started college. We shared a similar teasing sense of humor, inherited from our father, as well as a compulsive need to decorate for and celebrate every possible holiday. With distance and each of our marriages, we grew apart again. I always thought, “She is my little sister. There is time to regain closeness.” I read research on siblings caring for each other as they aged. And then, before our gap mended, she died.

I miss her. I wonder what holidays will be like without her particular brand of celebration; I will miss her creative products; I miss being able to call someone who shares family history and can be depended upon to laugh with just the fi rst few words of a family legend. I miss her.

 

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