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a brother's view
life is short
by drew wright

October 14th will be a date that I will carry with me for a lifetime. I will always remember it as a day that I took off of work for a cold, and returned back to work the next day feeling cold. It is the day when I learned that my sister had decided to leave this world, in search of greener pastures, for a place she belonged. My whole life, I took for granted that she would be here my whole life. No knowing that anything and everything can happen at any given time, I will have to start a new life of embrace and attachment. However, this is not about me, it’s about my sister Jennifer Maren Wright.

If she were looking over my shoulder right now as I write these words, she would definitely have something sarcastic to say. She saw everything in life for what it was, and was able to find humor in it. She would condemn my opening statement as sentimental garbage, and tell me to write something funny. So the remaining portion of this memorial to my sister will fall as a lame attempt to make my sister smile one last time.

Maren and I have always been quite different. We had Mr. World Traveler Brother to thank for that. It was impossible to compete for her attention when Pete would get back from Thailand, or from walking the Tibetan trail from India to China. She had a choice of who to look up to, Mr. Bud Light or Mr. Tsingtao, and I always believed she choose wisely. He fueled her insatiable need for knowledge, and her quest for understanding the world around her. I would have fueled her need for double cheeseburgers, flat beer and conquering Halo on veteran difficulty. He took her hiking, sailing, and on scooter trips through national forests. I took her to McDonalds and a marathon of Star Wars movies. I truly believe that Peter was one of her heroes, and rightly so.

Another one of her heroes was my father. He has always been one the most intelligent, kind, and mild mannered men I have ever known. Anybody who had ever met Maren, would have seen these traits in her as well. Like her father, she could gobble up four books in a week. At the rate I am going, I might gobble up four books in a lifetime.

Maren was a straight A student from Kindergarten through many years of college. I preferred to sample the wide variety of letters you can find on a report card.

My father ran marathons at 40, he climbed mountains at 50, telamark skied in his 60’s and continues to ride his bike well into his 70’s. My sister was an accomplished runner in high school and college, climbed mountains with her father, skied those mountains and rarely could be found without a bicycle. I like to climb the stairs from my basement, run to the fridge, and can rarely be found on a bicycle sober.

My sister exemplified the best traits of our father, but there is one thing he taught her that I never agreed with; fiscal responsibility. My sister and I had bank accounts when we were young. I could never comprehend how, as the older brother, she always had more money than me. I would sit at the kitchen table, playing with my brand new 1/16th scale replicant Millennium Falcon, and try to figure out just how she managed to have a positive balance in her bank account.

Usually, I would conjure up ways of making that account a little bit lighter. It involved some sweet talk, a large interest payment, and a truly generous sister who liked making her big brother happy. I would like to say that this only took place when we were young, but her generosity lasted well into our teens (she might of said twenties).

Of course, there is our mother. Whether or not Maren liked to admit it, she possessed many of our mom’s strong personality traits. They both could fill a room with their presence; whether it was by strength of voice, their quick wit, or pure hilarity. It was often these same traits that created many a standoff at Christmas, while singing by the piano or shopping at the Nordstrom Rack. If alcohol was involved, you never knew whether to laugh, cry, or hide. She also possessed my mother’s physical strength and athletic ability. Maren was an amazing tennis player, and throughout her years she tried her hand at any and every sport imaginable.

Perhaps the biggest gift of all from my mother was Maren’s musical ability. When Maren sang, it touched you so deep in your heart that it almost hurt. I will always remember one particular night when she sang Ave Maria in church. That night I was so proud of my little sister that it brought tears to my eyes.

Now when it came to musical tastes, my sister and I rarely agreed. When we were in high school, my band Friction asked Maren to sing back-ups. After a few practices it was pretty obvious that you could not mix opera with Van Halen. So I had the heartbreaking task of notifying Maren that she was no longer with the band. She took it in stride, and exacted the cruelest revenge a brother could face. She proceeded to date an innumerate amount of my friends and band mates. I tried to reciprocate, but I never could remove myself from the “Big Brother I Never Had Zone”.

All of these differences meant nothing to me and my sister. We always agreed to disagree. I accepted that she liked Akira Kurosawa and Frederick Neitchze, while I liked Michael Bay and Dr. Seuss. She listened to the greats of music like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Janice Joplin, while I listened to Kid Rock, and Limp Bizkit. However, as different as we were, I always thought that our loves for music, movies, athletics, sarcasm, partying, and family were exactly alike. We might not have ever agreed on the exact mode and method, but the things that drove us, were always similar. Much like a Democrat and Republican might never agree on politics, but would strongly agree on their love for politics.

I didn’t know my sister well over the past few years; people drift apart through time and take different courses through life. When I did see her, we shared laughter, some beer, good conversation and the promise to do it more often. I will regret that we rarely took each other up on that promise. I loved my sister with all my heart. It kills me that I could not be there for her. It floors me that I never knew that she needed help. Worst of all is knowing that the last time I saw will be the last time forever. I will never understand her decision, but it was her decision. I will however, live my life with her always in my heart, and I will tell my children when they are older all of the beautiful things about their Aunt Maren.

I will miss you Maren, I will miss not growing old together, I will miss sharing beers together, I will miss picking on Mom for our QVC Christmas presents together, but mostly I will miss not being able to tell you that I have and always will be proud to be your brother.


I have spent the better part of my life trying to figure out just who I am. Im a Seattlelite, with just a touch of New Yorker and North Carolinian. Im a soft-talking, fast-driving, rain-loving son of a bitch that refuses to believe that he is getting older. However, each day I awake to the sound of my child's laughter, and slowely realize that getting older might just be a good thing.

more about drew wright


give me three steps, once more
choosing a new way to be me
by drew wright
topic: general
published: 12.30.99


juli mccarthy
10.23.08 @ 10:10a

I am SO sorry for your loss.

I will never understand why someone would remove themselves from the playing field, but I don't think it's anything we CAN understand.

maureen biegas
10.24.08 @ 1:59a

I am a friend of Maren's. Our group of friends just found today what happened. No one had heard from her in about two weeks and we worried but had no idea what had happened. I know this must be a very difficult time for you but if you could email me your phone number... We are just so devastated and have so many questions. my email is mbiegas@gmail.com.

Hope to hear from you.


jael mchenry
10.24.08 @ 9:31a

Your sister sounds like an incredible woman and I am so sorry for your family's loss. Thank you for sharing your story with us -- even in this great sadness the charm, humor, and love shines through.

jeffrey walker
10.24.08 @ 11:09a

Drew: #1, so sorry about your sister. I hope you and your family are coping reasonably well. #2 This is a great remembrance piece. #3 Miss you, brother. Hope the west side of the country is treating you well.

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