I will never be lonely because I have a sister. Katie, my only sister and my older sister, and I are each other’s favorite people. Our collective and historic memories and experiences bind us in a way that is impossible to experience with any other human. From taking baths together as children to both being present as our parents took their last breaths and all that crazy life we lived in between, we are bound.

My sister has always set the standard for what I want from other friends. Of the many relationships in my life, the bond between my sister and me has been my most constant.

Margaret Mead said, “Sisters are probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest.” Mead’s sister said, “You can tell your sister to go to hell in 12 different languages and if you need a quarter, she will lend you a quarter.”

I don’t ever remember a true sister rivalry with Katie. We early on developed a deep loving attachment to each other that has served as our lifelong critical support system. Did we fight? Yes, we did, but not over anything major that I can remember. I think we almost killed each other a few times and possibly blood was shed in high school over borrowed clothing. But for the most part we have truly functioned as each other’s safety net in this chaotic world by always being there for each other.

This week, a sister was lost. She was one of the Dowdy girls. Her name was Rebecca Dowdy Mc- Cluskey and she was the youngest of four sisters in an all-girl family beautifully created by Craig and Mary Dowdy.

She was like a little sister to former Pleasanton Express editor, Sue Brown, who is the godmother to Rebecca’s 11-year-old son, Rex. By observing the flood of Facebook profile pictures after Rebecca’s death, it was obvious that to so very many, she was a best friend, a ride or die, a sister for life and that she brought the fun to the friendship. What a tribute to a life well-lived.

To Rebecca’s birth sisters, I know you laughed a million laughs and shared a lifetime of secrets. You had more fun than anyone. You shared shenanigans and silliness and serious and complicated matters. You fought and made up countless times. You were each other’s lifeline, and you always had each other’s back. I know the void of her vibrance in all of your lives will be forever felt.

I have said before that I could survive most things, but the loss of my children or my sister is unfathomable. How could I go on in this world without them? It is unthinkable.

In this community, we have those strong souls who live as an example that the “impossible is possible.” They have lost children too soon and they serve to remind me of the resilience of the human spirit.

“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller

Prayers of love, peace and comfort to the Dowdy family and all who loved Rebecca.

NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at

3 responses to “Sisters”

  1. Sharon Kotzur says:

    Beautiful tribute. I’ll share this with my Sister ♥️

  2. Clara Beyer says:

    Noel, this is beautiful.

  3. Pat says:

    Fly high, I love my sister/ friend, would be sad to have her pass before me.

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