Jules. That was my nickname for my sister Julie. She loved the nickname but said her spelling of it was correct, “Jewels.” I guess she was right – I mean, I only created the thing… what right did I have to choose the spelling? She was like that… she made her own rules. She was fearless. She played hard and she loved hard.

My sister Julie passed away today to the shock of everyone that knew her. There were no warning signs, no life-threatening conditions she was dealing this, no accident, nothing. One minute she was likely laughing and joking and shortly thereafter was gone. I guess if you have to go, that is the way to go out.

In reflecting on my relationship with my sister in the hours since her passing, I am struck by one overwhelming thing. She was my best friend for my formative years. No, as adults we didn’t talk every day (or even every week) but while growing up we were very tight.

From my earliest memories and up through junior high school, we had the same friends, played the same games, hid from our brothers when they were “on a tear” and generally just hung out.

The thing we shared the most was laughter. I remember that I just loved finding ways to make her laugh. I did it most often by pretending to mishear things she said. I would then rephrase it into something ridiculous pretending that is what heard. It never failed to start her laughing uncontrollably. If I had a super power, it was making Julie laugh and I am grateful for every second of that.

She was the baby of the family and while we gave her a hard time often, there is nothing that any of her older brothers or family wouldn’t have done for her. It still doesn’t even feel real but I know she is happily reuniting with our dad and they are having a grand time.

by Chris Doelle