A sweet kid

I find birthdays rather depressing — you just get older and older until you die. My sister always reminds me that there is something worse, though. She and I approximated the same birthday, I was born on 9 March, she was born on 11 March, 11 years after me. I always knew her birthday, and I always knew exactly how old she was, and I got to watch my baby sister grow up. Here she is, with my father:

Lisa Marie Myers Clendening, 1968-2001

Lisa Marie Myers Clendening, 1968-2001

I think of her every 11th of March.

She died when she was only 33.

See? The thing that’s worse than birthdays is not having any any more, and she’s always reminding me of that.


  1. jacksprocket says

    What a sister. She would have been 49, so she died 16 years ago ( A+ for maths, that’s me). I had a friend who died, same age, 24 years ago. Little blind beautiful Tina O’Brien. Life had it in for her- heart trouble, brain tumour, it was an aneurism that stilled her relentless advocacy for people perceived as less able or less beautiful. And her acid tongue used on anyone who displayed lazy bigotry. Sod the melancholia, celebrate great people.

  2. chuckonpiggott says

    So sorry, PZ. Today we celbrated my brother’s 70th and his son’s 33rd. They share a birthday, March 12. The son does not like it. Thinks he was shortchanged having to share a birthday with his father.

  3. Ed Seedhouse says

    Well, if a whole lot of people hadn’t died over many thousands of years, there wouldn’t be any room left for me. I don’t mind making way in my turn.

    I don’t fear death, because, frankly, I can’t comprehend it emotionally, but I do fear dying. That’s because I am a product of evolution and fear of dying tends to help people to survive and produce progeny. Mind you I’m 73 and haven’t produced any myself, so I am an evolutionary dead end, I suppose. That’s life.

    I was, as Mark Twain said, dead for billions of years and didn’t mind at all.
    We live in a universe where everything that starts eventually stops. That’s the deal.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I lost a couple of class mates early, Somebody who ended up deaf due to mumps, who died during an operation to change that fact. and a friend of the family who died by now what we know as Reyes Syndrome.

    These always come up when I try to put the Redhead’s death in perspective. Someday, I might ask PZ to publish what was going on in my mind during that terrible time.

  5. redwood says

    I also had a younger sister die (at 38 from melanoma). I know all life is change, but some of the changes are tough to handle. My aunt lived to be 96 and said the hardest thing about it was losing all of her friends and same-generation family. However, she said she made up for it by making new friends and getting to know the younger members of her family.

  6. Jack-booted Verbalist says

    I can only imagine the loss of a much-beloved younger sibling. I am so sorry.

    Your dad? You look like him a bit. Yes?

  7. handsomemrtoad says

    Was she a musical genius? Musical geniuses seem (anecdotally) to die in their 30s: Mozart, Schubert, Fritz Wunderlich, and Erwin Wohlfahrt.

    Fritz Wunderlich–pretty much the undisputed greatest small-voiced, high-precision lyric/chamber tenor of all time–died at age 35 in the stupidest possible way: he got drunk at a hunting lodge and fell down a flight of stairs. He was two weeks away from his debut at the Met. Watch/listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px0H0rD2L2E

  8. bryanfeir says

    From Through the Looking Glass:

    Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion. ‘I mean,’ she said, ‘that one can’t help growing older.’

    One can’t, perhaps,’ said Humpty Dumpty; ‘but two can. With proper assistance, you might have left off at seven.’

    At which point, Alice, smart girl that she was, changes the subject.