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“Sisters are different. They heard the sobbing in the darkness. They lived through all your triumphs, all your favorites, all your loves and losses. They have no delusions. They lived with you too long. And so, when you achieve some victory, friends are delighted – but sisters hold your hands in silence and shine with happiness. For they know the cost.” -Pam Brown Today is the birthday of Dawn Louis-Jean, and marks 52 years that I have known her. She is my little sister. My favorite sister, not just because she is my only sister… She is sandwiched between me and my brother. The beautiful one. The one that looks “Italian” because she has olive skin, brown eyes, and brown hair with dashes of salt. “You can kid the world, but not your sister.” -Charlotte Gray [caption id="attachment_1465" align="alignright" width="225"]Dawn, Helena, Dad 1974 Dawn, dad, and I Rochester, NY[/caption] We shared a bedroom when we lived in Rochester, NY – and even worse, shared a bed. We didn’t always get along back then. We put a long piece of masking tape down the center of the bed, from the headboard, down the bedspread, down to the floor to across the room to divide her side of the room from mine. Her side of the room was always cluttered, mine was always neat. I would even go so far as to make my half of the bed. I was a stinker of an older sister.  “A sister smiles when one tells stories – for she knows where the decoration has been added.” -Chris Montaigne I remember when we were kids, she had her friends, I had mine, and in our minds, we couldn’t have overlapping friends – you know, friends that could be friends of both she and I. Dawn tagged along a lot! It drove me crazy when my mother would yell for me to bring my sister with me and my friends. “Do I have to?” yes Helena, you do “If you don’t understand how a woman who could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.” -Linda Sunshine By the time we were in high school, I think my feelings for her started to change. I began to respect her and the choices she made. Smart, quick-witted, and had many more friends than anyone I knew. She could hang with the cool kids and the nerdy kids and feel comfortable in both groups. In those four years of high school, we had only one class one semester together, which we didn’t like. Since the day she was old enough to hold a pencil, she knew what she wanted to do in life. She went to college and graduated with a degree in Art History. She worked her butt off for that degree. She is the most gifted artist I know, and I’m not just saying that because she is my favorite sister.  “Sisters remember things you would rather forget, in graphic detail…With proof.” -Unknown In 1992, when I went to the hospital to give birth to my first child, I was only allowed two people in the room with me. Besides my husband I chose Dawn to be in the room. I told her that no matter what happened, not to leave me. I said she didn’t have to carry a conversation, she could bring work, she could do anything she wanted, but to please never leave. I needed her by my side, more than I needed my husband. She became my hero that day, nor did she ever leave my side. “Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.” -Carol Saline That day my first son was born, was the day Dawn got Saved. God changed her life from top to bottom and didn’t leave a hair unturned… as only God can do. Throughout the years that we have lived apart – 21 years to be exact – we have lived through a broken engagement (hers), my divorce, several mission trips to Haiti (that’s how she met her husband) a marriage (hers), a remarriage (mine), her children’s births, my younger children’s births, the death of our mother, the remarriage of our father, the death of our father – and yes the ups and downs of marriage and raising children. “Husbands come and go – children come and eventually they go. Friends grow up and move away. But the one thing that’s never lost is your sister.” -Gail Sheeny But through it all, Dawn has remained someone I greatly admire. She has chosen a Godly life and at this day-and-age, is a difficult life to walk some days. She and her family feed the homeless every Friday night, which eventually turns into Saturday and Sunday nights. She also helps with vacation bible study with downtown kids to get them off the streets. She brought Family Promise to her church in North Carolina. Family Promise exists to help bring homeless or at risk of homelessness people become financially solvent through reeducation, social services, and other means…And Dawn is the biggest and best prayer warrior that ever lived. My opinion, naturally. At my 50thbirthday, Dawn and our brother both flew down to help celebrate. My brother had gotten a male stripper as a birthday gift. When he arrived, Dawn quietly went into another room so that she would not see the dance as she didn’t want the image of the stripper to be in her mind while she was with her husband. I was floored. She was my hero once more. Last year she was here for Thanksgiving, which was a miracle as we haven’t had turkey at the same table in years. We had a little party the day after and at one point I remember someone saying something, I popped my head up, and there she was looking straight at me, nodded at each other, and that was enough. Complete communication without a word. [caption id="attachment_1464" align="alignright" width="300"]Dawn's40th Dawn’s 40th Birthday[/caption] Whenever I travel to ANYWHERE, she is the first and last person I speak to. She prays for me and my family and I don’t have to remind her (although I do, quite often) – as if she has a direct line to God – the logical side of me knows she doesn’t – but the human side of me says she does. “How do people make it through life without a sister?” -Sara Corpening What I like the most about her is that we share a childhood together. I only have to mention a name, or a smell, or a place. She knows it all. She knows it better than I remember it. She has my back and I hope she knows that I have hers. We miss our mother more than tremendously. We both hate Mother’s Day. If Dawn walked into a room of 50 strangers, she would walk out with 50 new friends. We have talked about what we want for our funerals, just in case…. We can talk about anything. Or nothing at all. She consistently blows me away and I look forward to celebrating, enjoying, crying, laughing, and living with her for another 52 years.  ]]>

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