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  • Rebecca


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” - Lao Tzu

“Love cares more for others than for self.” - I Corinthians 13:5(MSG)

My beautiful Mama holding Kay Kay

On this day, January 5th, in 1955, the world became a more beautiful place. Deborah Kay Osborne came into this world and from that moment on, wherever she went, she spread beauty and joy. In honor of her birthday today, I am sharing the eulogy I gave at her funeral in February 2016 to give you a little glimpse into the beauty and courage that was my sister.

My favorite picture of Kay Kay. She was 20 years old when this was taken.


If I had to define my sister in one word it would be LOVE. When Jen called me crying to tell me her mom had cancer, I was devastated. I had just lost my mom a little over a year ago and my dad and two brothers before that and I thought “this is more than I can bear.” Jen asked me not to say anything because Kay Kay didn’t want me to know yet until all her tests results were in and they knew exactly what stage she was in and what the treatment would be.

Kay Kay and I always talked or texted pretty much every day. She called me a couple times that week and I couldn’t answer because I knew I would start crying hearing her voice and I wasn’t supposed to know about her cancer yet. She finally, in her Kay Kay way, texted me and said “Why aren’t you answering me? I know you know.” I started crying and texted her back and said, “because I can’t stop crying.” She waited a few minutes and then texted back “are you about done yet?” I started laughing and called her. You would think she would be sad or worried or somber, but she was my same Kay Kay she’s always been – happy and full of sunshine. She started telling me she would probably do chemo and said, “I’ve already picked out my wigs!” like this was just another shopping trip she was getting excited about. I started laughing again and said, “only you Kay Kay could make me laugh at a time like this” and she said in her sweet, loving voice “That’s my job.”

For you see, it was never about her. That was Kay Kay. She always thought of others before herself. The entire time she was suffering I never heard her complain or cry or even just be sad. Not once. She always wanted to know how I was doing; she sent me special gifts to remember her, we spent our time talking and laughing and planning our next trip to see each other. When she found out her cancer was in Stage 4 and made the decision to enter hospice instead of going through treatment, at first I didn’t understand why she would not choose to fight this. But then as I saw her deal with this in her pure, sweet, happy way, I realized she didn’t choose to go home and die. She chose to go home and LIVE. And that’s exactly what she did. She spent every last minute loving those around her and spreading sunshine everywhere she went. That was Kay Kay.

Tickling my grandbaby Hayden's toes at our last Thanksgiving together

As I was scrolling through some of our texts this week, I came across an article that she and I shared that defines how she lived her life. It’s an article about Joni Erickson Tada who, as some of you might know, was a quadriplegic and also suffered from breast cancer. Kay Kay loved this article so I would like to read it to you now. Joni writes:

“I began to see that cancer wouldn’t win if I died. Cancer would only win if I failed to cherish Jesus Christ. And with that attitude, I was able to live in the present, not wallow in the past, not be filled with thoughts of regret….I think there is special joy and courage in being able to live in the moment, live right now. When people see us smile, in the midst of chronic pain, cancer, quadriplegia, whatever, they will look at us and think: ‘Her God must be pretty great to inspire that kind of loyalty. I think that’s amazing that she can smile in the midst of her affliction. I want was she has. I need her joy.’ Oh, what a rich testimony that is! The only way any trial, loss, frustration, illness, trauma, or heartache can win in our lives is if we fail to cherish Christ through it.”

Jesus, we choose to honor my beautiful sister’s memory by choosing to cherish You today with joy in the midst of the chaos and heartache, just as she did every day of her life until You called her name.

Our last Easter together

Courage. What a powerful word. Many have tried to define courage, but few have lived it. My sister is one of the few. I wrote these words in my journal just one week after losing her when my soul was overcome with grief:

“It takes courage to face a terminal illness with joy and gratefulness for every moment the way my sister did. It takes courage to love and be loved by an imperfect person just like yourself. It even takes courage to believe you are loved by the perfect God of the universe because we feel so undeserving. It takes courage to live undaunted lives and it especially takes courage to continue living without fear and with joy when you lose someone you love so much and whom you KNEW loved you with all their heart, the way that Kay Kay loved me. But because she chose to be courageous, I can too. I can choose to honor her memory and continue her legacy by living an undaunted, grateful, joyful life, savoring every moment with the ones I love and making sure they know how much I love them and being Jesus to them. That is the way my Kay Kay loved me - sacrificially, unconditionally, and without ever expecting anything in return.”

Happy birthday my beautiful, courageous sister. Thank you for teaching me how to truly live.

Our last picture together the night before she passed away. There was clearly a window behind us but the quality of the picture doesn't matter. It is my most treasured possession of her because right up until she left this earth, she was still smiling and spreading joy.

You were content to let me shine,

That’s your way.

You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,

While you were the one with all the strength.

A beautiful face without a name,

For so long.

A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?

And everything I would like to be?

I can fly higher than an eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Beaches/ “Wind Beneath My Wings”

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