"Today is my sister Mary's birthday. Mary is the second eldest in our family and being the eldest girl in a large Irish household, she was invariably called upon to give up much of her time and energies in helping my mother keep house during a large part of her development. Consequently, since my mother died twenty nine years ago, she has taken on the role of 'mother' for her six brothers and sisters and very little is done these days in the extended Forde family without her nod of approval.
Mary has always been a hard worker who is very house proud and particular in her ways. Her long-term partner, Richard, (enclosed in picture with her) is a perfect match for her.
The best thing I found about having a sister was that you always have a friend who knows you like others don't. It is hard to kid a sister and when I tell family stories she smiles in the background because she knows where the decoration has been added and the tale varnished.
The first born in every family needs a big sister to look out for them and during her life time and particularly when I was divorced, Mary certainly looked out for me by providing me with a room in her house and a place at her table until I got settled and found my feet again.
I wish you the happiest of birthdays, Mary, and as my next-in-line sibling and oldest sister, please know that you shall always remain a little bit of my childhood that will never be lost as well as a large part of my life today. I love you, Mary and mum would be proud of you carrying forward her ways. There is no better friend than a sister and there is no better sister than you." William Forde: June 17th, 2015.