Funeral speech by Katy’s sister, Jill.

I don’t know how to sum up all that I wish to say about my sister in just a few minutes. There are no words to describe what she meant to me and the person that she really is. I will probably look back on this in the future and think that I had left out so many things. But for now I shall do my best.
Katy is my big sister, confident, beautiful, intelligent, funny, cheeky, charming, brave, loving, strong and she had one (pardon me) hell of a temper, and when she wanted something she was gonna get it; she would never take no for an answer!  Basically she was a lot for a little sister to live up to!.
She took the path ahead of me in life so that I had someone to learn from. (She didn’t make it easy for me though, as sisters never do and I thank her for that in some ways because it helped to make me the person that I am).  I learnt from her mistakes as much as her accomplishments, and I hope that she had learned from mine.

I always said that Katy and I were polar opposites. She liked five star hotels and I was always happy to go hostel hopping.  She would save her money for shoes and dresses and handbags and I would be saving up for the next piece of equipment I would want or the next airplane ticket. But I see now and probably have always known that in so many ways we are alike. We both love a challenge, neither of us could or would ever take the easy road, even though we both always complained about the amount of work or stress we were under. We both have a passion for the work that we do and would find life somewhat less interesting without it. Katy would put her heart and soul into everything that she did, be it decorating a house, climbing a mountain, writing an article or smiling for a picture. In school she sailed through her subjects always, getting top grades without ever really studying. She could have done or been anything she wanted. But Katy was a people person. She loved being around people, she loved the interaction, and she always wanted to help. This was the path she chose.

I always admired her for being so openly able to show her love and affection for people; she never held back.  This is a characteristic so amazing and rare and few people may claim to have it.  Her sheer bravey and emotional fearlessness is incomparable. She lived in love, she is love and she is loved.  In this way I believe that she lived a full life and accomplished more in 24 years that most accomplish in ninety.  I would like to make a promise to her now and that is that I will always aspire to show and experience life and love in the way that she did, to never hold back, never regret, never lose faith and to love without fear.

I am so thankful for those last few days that I had with my sister in the hospital. She held on and fought for life even though she did not have to, so that her family could have the time to say goodbye.  I always knew she was strong but I really saw in that time the power of her life force. It was a difficult time for our family but as I lay with her I felt surrounded by a strange but familiar peace. There was no need to talk about past regrets, but rather I found myself talking to her about the present and the future. I felt a happiness in singing our favourite songs and remembered with her and laughed at the silliest stories in our past. I remembered how even though we would bicker like old ladies (well more like WWF superstars) we would always be there for each other when everything seemed to crumble around us. When one of us would fall weak the other would stand and protect. When one of us needed a little help, but was to proud to ask for it, the other would know and would quietly support.

My sister to me is not the person that everyone see’s in the magazines – perfectly styled, gorgeous and beautifully groomed (even though she is all those things), but she is the person who would get up in the morning and have somehow managed in her sleep to have sculpted her hair into the most eccentric of styles that would sometimes resemble a still frame of a bomb going off in the ocean.  She is the person who made the most dreadful jokes that you had to laugh at because they were that bad or because she would be rolling around in laughter no matter how many times she had told them to you.  She also had a fragility that she rarely let people see but could only be seen in her in her silent moments. Katy is my sister, my blood, she is all of me and I am all of her.
And so I would like to share with you now a few words of comfort offered to me in the past week by a great friend. She told  me that my sister was not gone but was living on with me now and so I have to have courage and live for the both of us now.
So Katy, you have influenced so many people and touched their lives, but none more than me. I am your biggest fan.
I would like to invite you to live on with me now, experience with me, travel with me, love with me. I hope that you will guide me and give me the the strength to live life with the same spirit, passion and fearlessness that you  did yours.  May your soul live on with me. I love you so much.

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