Friday, August 04, 2006


Today is August 4, 2006. A Friday. The August 4 that stands out in my head the most was a Monday. Monday, August 4, 1997. That is the day my little sister died. She was 18 ½ and attending her 1st semester at Brigham Young University. She was born with heart disease and had dealt with it her entire life. But when she died of a heart attack on BYU campus we were all left in shock. It's weird to think back to growing up with her. "Nicole's heart" was just a part of everyday. We didn't treat her any differently (even though I remember being jealous everytime she came back from a week of medical tests with a new Carebear or a Watchimal.) She was just Nicole and she had a heart problem. We used to use her heart as an excuse to turn our bikes around and ask my mom for a ride to school instead. Or when we were late to school, Nicole and I would tell our teachers that her heart was hurting. We knew how to work it! I prayed everyday of my life to our Heavenly Father to "Bless Nicole's heart." and I never in a million years thought she would die. I thought we'd be living next door to each other- my kids playing with her kids.

Nicole was petite yet full of spunk. Everyone that knew her, loved her. Everything I say is going to sound so cliché, but it’s all true. Nicole was truly like an angel on earth. She was very loving, forgiving, playful, smart. She was a thespian- very dramatic- and a good dancer. She was a flirt (I taught her that!!) and nice to everyone. She was an awesome aunt, sister and friend. My parents don’t know this- but I figure it’s ok to tell now- I used to pick her up from school in the middle of the day and we’d go out to lunch or to a movie. She had good enough grades to get away with it and mine were so bad… well, what’s one more skipped day. She was the movie quote queen- I do my best to live up to her legacy. At her funeral my family passed out a list of her favorite movie quotes ending with, “I was hanging with you fungi in a vain effort to cool you out. But all I’m getting is breeze, so se la vi.” What movie??

Nicole wrote me this poem that I've saved for years:

Friends to the End
A Friend to the end
Is God’s greatest gift.
Who will stand by your side
And your spirits they’ll lift.
A friendship that lasts.
Thru thick and thru thin.
A partner in laughter.
Your problem’s they’ll mend.
A friend who will take your hand
And lead you from the dark.
A friendship lasting thru the years
That never falls apart.
A friendship this strong
Could never be measured.
It grows more and more
Every time we’re together.
A friend that’s honest.
A friend that’s true.
All of this
I found in you.

I know how lucky I am to not have only known Nicole, but I am her sister. I will be her sister forever. I will see her again. My kids will see their aunt. Sei will get to meet her- although I think she helped lead us to each other. Isabel is named Isabel Nicole for my sister. She talks about Nicole like she knew her even though she was born almost 2 years after Nicole's death. I believe Isabel did know Nicole and Nicole was right there when Isabel's sweet spirit came to earth. I always feel like I have a guardian angel. I feel like my children are protected by Nicole. She was an awesome aunt during her time on earth, so I know she's watching over them now.

I miss Nicole. When the whole family is together for Christmas or taking a family picture there is always that feeling that something is missing. It's not complete. I can not wait for the day when our family is complete again. Nicole, I love you. I miss you. I'm sorry I was mean to you when you were little. And I'm sorry I was retarded when I was a teenager- but you always stuck by me and showed your love for me. Thank you for that. Thank you for calling me to tell me about your 1st kiss. That made me feel special. Thank you for your example. I love you and I'll be seeing you.

Texas Angels

Nicole and Me at Girl's Camp

Aunt Nicole and Tristan

Nicole 16 yrs old


Gina said...

She is a beauty just like you. Thanks for sharing your story about Nicole.

Katie said...

Nicole looks a lot like you, Tori. What a beautiful tribute to your sister. I hope today is gentle on you.

Robin said...

She sounds way fun and like a cool sister. I am glad I got to hear a little about her. I got goosebumps reading this. What a blessing to know she is happy and waiting to hang out with you again.

~j. said...

Thanks for sharing that, Tori. I only knew a bit of the story, and I really appreciate you opening your memories like this. I know it can be hard. But like you said, it's also a blessing for your family to know that we WILL be together again as families. (Sadly, so many who lose loved ones don't have that, and I can't imagine not having that comfort.)

Beautiful poem. Beautiful girl. Beautiful memories. (Appropriately enough, Some Kind of Wonderful.)

s--max said...

I remember seeing those pics...I forgot how much y'all look alike though. What a sweet tribute to your sister. Thank you for sharing.

txmommy said...

Sweet is the peace the gospel brings!

Thanks for sharing about your beautiful sister.

Mel said...

What a nice tribute to your sister. Thanks for sharing!

Tash said...

I wouldn't know what to do if I lost one of my sister's. I have 3 of them and they mean so much to me. my heart goes out to you. I am glad you have the peace of knowing you will be with her again. she is probably looking down smiling at you now because you have written such a beatiful tribute to her... :)

ellen said...

My older brother died almost 8 years ago. It's tough to lose a sibling. Thanks for sharing your story today.


Stephanie said...

What a neat tribute. I can't imagine losing a sister. They are so much a part of me.

I appreciate them even more now.

Thank you for that.

Stepherz said...

Nicole sounds like she was a super sweet gal and an awesome sis. I'm so sorry for your loss of her here on Earth. I know that must have been such a painful experience. Sisters bring such a wonderful and beautiful relationship. God gave you 18.5 amazing years of loving her, and that's a very special gift!

Terry said...

I am sure Nicole is a great girl. My mom has often said that she has seen so many extraordinary people die young because they have already become the people we are struggling so hard to be. This was such a sweet tribute to your sister. She is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, beautiful girl.
I lost my beautiful 23 yr. old son Dec. 11, 1991. It still hurts so bad.
Ala. Grandmother