January 10th, 2014


My sister died yesterday

My sister, Elizabeth Rose Horton, died yesterday at age 53 of cancer.

She was five years younger than me, blonde, energetic and fun, smart and practical. She leaves behind a son with a personality a lot like hers but cranked a few notches higher, and a gentle and loving husband. Through hard work, Beth created a good life and a happy home in west Texas.

But she smoked, and last January she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, an especially aggressive kind. It seemed to be in remission when I saw her at Fourth of July, but it came back. I spent a few weeks with her in November and December to help her and her husband, and to get her to a Thanksgiving family reunion at my younger brother’s home.

Though we were far away in distance, we were close by telephone and internet. In person or by phone, we would talk — and laugh and laugh. Even at the end, when she was weak and often confused, she was still making jokes.

My little sister was the glue that kept people together, and now we must do it ourselves.

She was maid of honor at my wedding in 1992. This is a photo of us with my grandmother and mother. My mother died in 1994, my grandmother in 2001, and my sister in 2014.

— Sue Burke