As Colleen’s sister I am compelled to write about her on this site. I have found it difficult to not just tell you how terribly I miss her. Or to write about how difficult it is to live without the only person, other than your parents, that you have known all of your life. She was the other half of me, the younger, far more energetic, better half of me.
Colleen feared nothing – from bike jumps and roller coasters as a kid, to white water rafting and sky diving as an adult – nothing stopped her. Even cancer couldn’t stop her the first two times it tried.
She was always determined – she must have thrown that baseball 1000 times a day to make her throw accurate – she must have felt really lousy sitting in class at Curry College during cancer treatments ensuring she graduated on time – which are just two examples of many. However, this level of determination barely compares to the complete devotion she had for her two children, Michael and Jacquelyn, and to giving them every opportunity to experience the best that life had to offer. In the very short time she had with them, she gave them all of her. In usual form Colleen wasted no time, in a short six years her family experienced Disney World, Cape Cod, Red Sox games, Patriot games, Herring Runs – some of the adventures I had never even heard of – I didn’t know where she found out about all of them – or found the time to fit them all in – she just never stopped.
Her spirit lives on very clearly in her children. Michael shares her dry, intelligent, slightly sarcastic, wit and if you are not paying close attention you might miss it. Jacquelyn shares Colleen’s complete enthusiasm for everything that happens throughout each and every day. And they are both very sweet children. Michael swapped books with the boy no one else would swap with “because he wouldn’t want that done to him” and Jackie worries when someone else’s birthday is approaching that she is sure to have a present to give.
Colleen would tell you the reason she left us all too soon was because it only took her 39 years to do what others take 80 years to accomplish. That may be true, but the world deserved more of what she had to give. Her children deserved the chance to experience her for a lot longer than they did. Pete is a great and dedicated dad who will raise two wonderful adults in Michael and Jacquelyn. And I will do my best to help keep the fun alive, but Colleen should be there hugging them at every finish line, ceremony, celebration, milestone, accomplishment, disappointment or heartbreak. That was what she lived for!
This hideous disease steals lives, but Colleen only wants you to celebrate – celebrate her life – celebrate your life. You can help to stop this tragic epidemic. All you have to do is find any reason, big or small, to go to dinner and celebrate, order a dessert and enjoy every bite of it. Colleen wouldn’t have it any other way.