Claire has been gone for a couple of years now. She was a powerful, tormented presence in my life from the time I first focused my newborn eyes on my family, many years ago in Shreveport, Louisiana.
She was the older of my two big sisters--four years older than me. She's the one who got the worst of my dad's wrath, just because she had the audacity to be born. I learned from Claire's mistakes and so avoided some of the worst punishments. Thank you, angel sister, for pioneering the art of staying alive in the war zone that was our family.
When Dad left our family, moving on to make another family and damage other children, Claire did as much as an abused, discounted sixteen-year-old could to help Mom summon the strength and determination to provide a home for us. Mom did an admirable job, especially considering she herself was just seventeen when Claire was born.
Unfortunately, all the abuse Claire suffered left permanent wounds, wounds that never healed. She managed to have three children of her own, loving them fiercely but with almost no ability to give them stability or security.
My sister was beautiful. She was also an amazing artist. She painted, drew, and sculpted. She loved deeply but never felt love returned--never demanded her due as the amazing person she was. As I touch on old feelings long buried within my own spirit, I encounter the miracle of you, Claire.