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The Human Experience: A Mother's Love....My Sister Darlys

Updated on October 13, 2012
My sister Darlys!
My sister Darlys! | Source
Our family before I was adopted.
Our family before I was adopted. | Source
My sister at an early age!
My sister at an early age! | Source
Our family five years after my adoption.
Our family five years after my adoption. | Source

There is a strength inside all of us that is more than sufficient to get us through the toughest of times. Some people, for whatever reason, never find that strength, never harness the inner fortitude that can carry them through the trials of life and as such stumble through the years shell-shocked, forever the victim of those events that bring them to their knees and keep them from rising to their full stature.

Then there are those who take hits head-on, are knocked to the ground and continually get back up, determined not to be beaten, determined not to be defeated, and in fact scream through their actions that life is for living and nothing is going to stop them from squeezing every last ounce of enjoyment from their life.

That was my sister Darlys! She passed on a few years ago, a victim of cancer, and I would like you to know about her and by extension perhaps come to appreciate her and others like her who refuse to surrender and in fact seem to flourish despite the hardships.


Darlys was eleven when I was adopted into the family. There is very little I can tell you about her in those early years; I remember very little about her from those first few years and she was married and moved out by the time I was six. I know for a fact that she had a tough childhood but it would serve no purpose to relate the things she had to live through at such a young age.

I have always suspected that I was adopted as a solution of sorts for our family, fresh blood if you will, the glue that would hold the family together. As such I was raised in a much different manner than my sister; I was the Golden Boy who walked a much smoother trail than she. It would not be an exaggeration to say everything that was lacking in my sister’s young life was in abundance in mine. Logically and understandably my sister should have resented me from an early age and yet I can say without hesitation that I couldn’t have asked for a more loving sibling.


By the time I was a teen Darlys was married and had her first of five children; the other four came at regular intervals so that by the time I was in college her family was fully-formed. I spent a great deal of my youth visiting with my sister and playing with her kids, a proud uncle who enjoyed playing catch with her oldest son and taking the growing brood to the park to play. I remember taking a road trip to Los Angeles with her family, playing with the kids and hanging out with the adults. I remember holidays when the whole family gathered, all trying to “get along” so that the holidays would be something special. I remember watching my sister grow in her duties as a mother, struggling at first but eventually settling into the role of loving mother, a role she would embrace for the rest of her life.

At some point in time and again I apologize for the vagueness, she, her husband and the five kids moved to North Dakota to be closer to her husband’s family. They would live there for awhile and then suddenly be back in the Pacific Northwest where they would live for another spell before moving once again back in the Dakotas. This was a pattern that would repeat itself often over the years.

She and I would talk occasionally on the phone and I would drive back to visit every few years. Through the middle years of our relationship I recall nothing but love for each other, a distant love but love nonetheless. They had tough times as a family, struggling financially and always seeming to be one step ahead of the collectors, but I never heard my sister complain. I never heard her play the “what if” game and I never heard her bemoan her life. What I do remember clearly is the pride in her voice when she would talk about her children and eventually her grandchildren. As her family continued to grow my sister dedicated more and more of her time constructing a safe and loving home for everyone, in effect giving them the stability in their lives that she did not have in her early life. Phone calls would be dominated with stories about one of her sons or one of her daughters and that in turn would lead to stories about the grandkids and on and on it would go until our conversation would end with “I love you, Sis,” and “I love you, Bill.”


So the years passed! I struggled with alcoholism and my sister was always there to support me through the tough times, never judging me, always showing love to me. She and her family made one more trip out west and Darlys eventually worked for a time in a store I owned and then they all moved a final time to North Dakota and our relationship became the occasional phone call and nothing more. The love was always there but circumstances separated us until the day our mother became ill and I had to call my sister to come out and help me with all the details associated with an ailing parent who needs full-time care.

We took care of those details, she returned to her family and mom eventually died. Shortly after that my sister and I had an argument and we quit speaking to each other and that is how it remained until the day she died.

We always think there will be time to mend fences and say what we really feel, and then the day comes when a loved one dies and time has run out and the words that would have meant so much are left unsaid. So it was for me and my sister.


What began as a family of four in 1948 is now only me and I am left with reflections on the family members who shaped my life. By no stretch of the imagination could it be said that my sister had an easy life and yet she lived her life with dignity and love for her family. I’m not sure there is a finer thing that can be said about a person.

Darlys did not have any outstanding talents; she was never celebrated by adoring masses nor was she written about for her achievements. She was like so many out there who simply take the hand they were dealt and make the best of it. She did not complain about her fate nor did she envy others for their good fortune. In fact I have never heard someone say a negative word about her, a fact I find amazing for someone who lived into her Seventies. She helped others when they needed it and she loved her family unconditionally….and she was my sister and I loved her.

When I think about her now I do not dwell on the circumstances that led her and I to quit speaking to one another. What would be the point in that? We were brother and sister for over fifty years and that transcends any stupid misunderstanding we had in the last few years.

I am told by her daughters that she spoke often of me during her final years and loved me very much. I have no doubt about that because she always supported me and showed me her love. She left behind five wonderful kids, countless grandchildren and a legacy of devotion and love which she passed on to her children who now live in accordance with that legacy.

I have spoken often in my writings about the wonderful childhood I had; my sister did not have a similar childhood and although she had every reason to be envious and jealous of my upbringing she did not choose to do so. She chose, instead, to love me!

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Voronwe, thank you kind lady! Your compassion is beautiful and you are appreciated.

    • Voronwe profile image

      Voronwe 6 years ago

      I find your hubs to be an amazing blend of inspiration, wisdom, comfort and honesty. Thank you sir. I'm sorry to hear about your sister. Your tribute is very heartfelt...thanks for sharing your story and realizations.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, thank you sir! Yes, we always feel like we have tomorrow to do the important things. It is a mistake I will not repeat.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 6 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      A tear to my eye here Billy. It must be very hard for you to know that the fences were not mended before the end. We always feel thing will be sorted out somehow but it is not always the case..

      Best Wishes.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Get those glasses adjusted Paula. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill.....maybe later. Keyboard, a complete blurr.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, thank you! That's just the way life is, right? The good, the bad, and the ugly! Hopefully I have learned a few things along the way and I can share my experience, strength and hope.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 6 years ago

      Your hubs are so moving! Wow it is wonderful how you can include both the positive and negative aspects of life in a way that is very sincere. Thanks for sharing this! Voted up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, if that happens then I will have done my job as a writer. I respect you greatly and to have your approval of my writing means a great deal to me. Thank you!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I read this and it makes me wonder how many other people will read this and be moved to pick up the phone and let go of their own personal grudes within their families. This is very open, honest, moving, and sooo compelling. You should be proud of your writing as it has the potential to reach and heal so many.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, you are a very kind person and I respect that greatly. Thank you for your words and for taking the time to visit my site once again. Peace and happiness to you!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      Bill, Sorry to hear about your sister. It is sad that you and your sis could not make amends before she passed away. But, by writing this heart rendering hub dedicating to her will help sort things out. I am pretty sure she is in a much better place right now and looks down upon you.

      Bless you, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shimmering Dawn, I confess to loving your screen name. What a wonderful tribute to the peace that is inherent in nature and life. Thank you for your comment and I greatly appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Xavier; your words are greatly appreciated as always!

    • shimmering Dawn profile image

      shimmering Dawn 6 years ago

      Wow, that is a wonderful tribute. I really wish that you could have told her one last time how much you loved her... but I guess see now knows.. Thanks for sharing such a lovely hub of recollections. Have a blessed day!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      A very touching story and a beautiful tribute to your sister. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are welcome Sandy!

    • profile image

      Sandy 6 years ago

      That was a very touching sincere recollection of my Mom. She was really a great person and I feel she was the best Motherb I could have ever been given. I miss her so so much. Your article brought tears to my eyes. I am so very glad you did this story because I needed to know where you stand. Thank you

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tina, it is my pleasure to share these stories with you and others like you. I had and have some very important people in my life and they deserve to be told about. Thank you very much!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, thank you my dear! I have a whole lot of life to hear about so I should be able to provide you with more if you are willing to read.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, that means so much coming from you my friend. Thank you for your kind words. I loved the pictures too!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      This is a very beautiful tribute to your sister and the whole article is filled with warmth. We don't always behave the best during our lives and relations with relatives can be a bit tricky sometimes, but the love between siblings is special and remain! I love the photos, they add to the story and make it even better! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story from your life!


    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 6 years ago from Edinburgh

      A particularly beautiful piece of writing from you Bill, I do believe you brought a tear to my eye! I just love to read about your life.

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Tennessee

      A wonderful and loving tribute! She would be so proud! Thank you so much for including the photos. They just make this whole thing even more intimate. Thank you for sharing this with us! Great job!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      b.Malin, I have been terrible of late visiting your site and others like it. I can tell you how busy I have been but that is a lame excuse. I will do better to show my appreciation to you for your following and gracious comments. Peace and happiness to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Eddy, that comment of yours brought tears to my eyes. I'm having a hard time typing this because my vision is distorted. :) I hope Darlys is looking down and smiling and knows how much I loved her. Thank you my dear for those very kind and generous words.

      I have said before that if my writing reaches and touches one person in need then the past was so worth it. I find comfort in your words because I respect you greatly. I'll keep doing my thing, you keep doing yours, and we shall see if we can't make this world a better place together.

      Peace and love always....Bill

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Oh Billybuc, what a Heartfelt Hub, so Beautifully written. I'm sure "Darlys" is smiling down with approval and saying, "Yes, that's my little brother, and I always Loved him". We don't always mend those fences or get to say goodbye, but the good times you shared should always out way those facts. Well written my friend and so Poignant a read.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Oh Billy what a heart tugging honest story.

      Darlys and Billy I would say were very much alike;one so strongly creating a warm haven for her family; never complaining ;never bitter at the fortune of others.

      You Billy have the strength to admit your past faults and have done so much already to help others who are in the position that you were once in yourself.

      A friend who is respected for his honesty and his caring heart.

      I am so glad you do not dwell on the rift between the two of you because as you say it would be of no use to waste your energies doing so.

      Billy I without a single doubt have to award this one my 'Up up and away'and also to bookmark into my 'Special hubs'.

      I am sure that your sister has the biggest smile ever for her little brother who published this wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady.

      Take care my dear friend and I wish you and Bev a wonderful day.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LaThing, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. I try to remember the good times between a sister and a brother; it gives me comfort.

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 6 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      What a beautiful piece. I can relate to it fully; I lost my only brother who was younger the me, at the age of 37..... You can never forget the love! Thanks for the wonderful story..... And tears will always be there.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marcy, it is my pleasure. Thank you for those lovely words and if I truly do those things then I am quite pleased as a writer.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      You have some amazing hubs that take us to our roots and touch our souls. Thanks for this sweet hub, and for all the other times you've given us food for thought and words to nourish us!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Robie, thank you so much! The sincerity comes in direct response to years of hiding and being less than truthful. Now I have some time to make up and I choose to use that time speaking from the heart. I appreciate your kind words and have a wonderful week.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 6 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Your writing is so sincere and from the heart and so very honest that it cannot fail to move-- I love all your hubs, but this one is particularly beautiful -- thanks for sharing so much of yourself here.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bev, you touch my heart each and every day; glad I could do the same. Love you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelly, thank you! You are so lucky to have two sisters still alive to enjoy. Bless you and may you find loads of happiness today.

    • kingmaxler profile image

      kingmaxler 6 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

      Your words brought tears to my eyes. Every person is precious and has something they give to the world. I will be calling my brother today to tell him I love him. Thank you, Bill for again touching my heart and inspiring me to action.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Bill - I really was touched by your story. I can tell the bonds of love are very present, and very strong. It is so wonderful to have sisters isn't it? I have 2 and it's a special relationship I can't explain.

      Beautifully written tribute to your sister Darlys:)


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