Katheryn would have been 25 today. She was/is my little sister.
I hated typing that sentence. Even after seven years, I haven't mastered the art of sharing a story about my siblings in a discussion where other people are sharing stories about their siblings without some kind of awkward confusion about tense. And death. I can't bring myself to say, "she was my little sister" because she is my little sister -- wherever she is. But if I tell some story and I don't clarify the fact that to some she was my little sister, inevitably questions like "So, where is she living now?" will be asked. Then I have to answer them. I've run out of euphemisms for "she died."
I don't like answering those kinds of questions because it makes people uncomfortable (me included) and then the mood of the conversation changes from sharing happy, funny stories to serious and concerned and suddenly all about me. There's got to be some unwritten social rule that says you can't smile or laugh within 10 minutes of someone mentioning death. Everyone seems to know that rule. In my experience they obey it more than any other social rule out there. I'm usually the first one to crack a joke if I've been put in that position.
I just want to tell the stories and laugh with the group that's sharing about their brother or sister. And for a minute, while I'm laughing and no one knows better, I can pretend she's still here.