It has almost been one year since my twin sister left us. June 27, 2015 will be extremely hard; I am sure of this. I have been thinking about this month for a long time now and just how I might respond to the challenges the lie ahead of me. I miss Denise. I miss hearing her voice and seeing her face with that sheepish smile of hers. I miss going to her second grade class and reading to her kids on our birthday. I miss not being able to meet her for lunch or dinner. I miss her not coming over to my house to visit us. I miss…I miss…I miss… The list can go on and on.
However, I am discovering that as the days pass without my twin sister being near me, I find myself wandering back to the “good ‘ol days.” Those days when we were kids and teenagers. I remember so much of the playing that we did with each other. Outside, just behind our garage, my dad had a pile of old wood, pieces of wood from torn down sheds or other buildings. Denise and I would build forts out of those old pieces of wood and we would sit inside of our “mansion” and play–me with my cars and her with her dolls. It was our fort. Inevitably, one of my older brothers would ride their bicycle into the side wall of the fort and it would come crashing down on us. We would dig ourselves out of it and would eventually get our revenge as soon as mom and dad came home.
As teenagers, I remember that Denise was in band and I was in choir. She played the flute from the time she was in sixth grade until she became ill with neuroendocrine cancer. She played beautifully–at least I always thought she did. I sang tenor in the choir. I remember going to hear her play when the band had a concert and she would come hear me sing when there was a choir concert. We tried our best to build each other up in our respective musical abilities. Both of us sang in our youth choir at church. She sang soprano first then moved into the alto section. Either one was fine with her as long as she could sit next to her friends.
Denise was a serious student and I was not so serious in high school. She studied long hours while I would watch TV or play my Atari in my room. We had good, long talks when we were younger and we had good, long talks as we grew older. Denise was determined. Me? Well, I was determined to just have as much fun as I possibly could. Denise graduated in time from Baylor University. I took the ten-year plan to graduate from Criswell College. I was at her graduation in Waco, Texas and celebrated with her. She came to my graduation and celebrated with me. Every year we celebrated our birthday together by going out to eat and buying each other cards and other gifts. She was always thoughtful in what she bought for me and I was for her.
I remember July 8, 1976. It was a hot day in Brownsville, Texas where we grew up. We were attending a Vacation Bible School at Primera Iglesia Bautista. My cousin, Becky Rivera, was teaching our class. We were nine-years-old. All week-long, Becky was teaching us stories about Jesus Christ and how He came to die for us so that our sins might be forgiven and we could be with Him for eternity. She told us that He could save us from the penalty of sin. On that thursday, Becky asked the class if any of us wanted to trust and believe Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. I knew that I needed to be saved, and, lo and behold, Denise knew that day she needed to be saved. Both of us prayed and believed Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. It was not too many months later that both Denise and I were baptized on the same day at Primera.
Now that she has left us, I remember so many different things. I know that I never thought that I would have to remember these things. For some reason, it never occurred to me that I would be twinless. But for some reason, it seems for me that although it is hard for me to remember all that we experienced together, it also brings me much joy. Denise and I are two peas in a pod–literally! We thought the same. We acted the same. We spoke the same. We had the same moodiness. We had the same outlook. We had much the same. Today, things are very different. I am in this mortal body and she is in an immortal body. I am on this earth and she is in heaven. I am continuing to miss her and I very seriously doubt she is missing me. I can only imagine what she is experiencing in heaven while she is whole, completely healed, and in the very presence of the One who saved us. Yes, things have changed dramatically for us both.
We were born October 8, 1966, we were saved together July 8, 1976, and we were baptized together October 10, 1976. One day, we will be together again. And on that day, I will be able to add that we are serving our Lord and Savior together.