My two sisters and I slept in the "finished" (unpainted sheetrock) part of the attic when I was a boy, and they were forced to drag me along to the movies on weekend days until I was eight or nine and allowed to go by myself (!). Both sisters played piano, and I pestered my parents until they got me lessons at four. Joan eventually gave piano up, but Irene and I didn't. I have so many sweet memories of those early years with Irene and me.
When she graduated high school she joined a cloistered nunnery and stayed for four years until just before her final vows when she returned to her "cell" to find a cat-'o-nine tails on her bunk and called our father to come get her. Even though I was five years younger than her, my mother knew I was already more experienced so asked me to look out for her, and I did.
We had a few spats over the decades, but mostly we were loving to each other. From what I could tell, she loved her life up until only months ago when she woke up one day mostly blind. And then more of her started breaking down and life became extremely challenging. Last time we talked, it was clear she was done but would tough it out.
She was my last sibling still living. Now I'm the only one left. But they all live on in my memories and heart. Love to her children and grandchildren and all her family and friends.
Here's my favorite recent photo of Irene. Still the same smile.