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Sister recalls how 2004 snow made sibling's final Christmas special

By JR Ortega
Dec. 24, 2012 at 6:24 a.m.
Updated Dec. 25, 2012 at 6:25 a.m.

Beverly Ann Lorke Wimberly talks about her sister Delores Lorke who died of cancer in 2005. They always wanted to see snow and on Christmas Day 2004, they were finally able to see it. She died about a month later.

Wimberly's Christmas Memory Letter

As children and even as an adult, we always wished for snow on Christmas. I have been fortunate to grow up with two sisters, one older and one younger, and a younger brother. Unfortunately, my younger sister developed breast cancer some time in 1994, and for almost 10 years, she gave it her best fight. But as Christmas approached in 2004, she hinted that she felt this would be her last. Although she had never married or had children of her own, family was very important to her. Since our parents' passing several years earlier, we kept our Christmas Eve family gathering tradition going, and this year was no different. Everyone made an extra special effort to be at the house for dinner after church. And as we left church, the snowflakes began to fall. So the last Christmas we were able to celebrate with my sister, Delores, was the white Christmas we had always dreamed of. My beloved sister died Jan. 31, 2005.

  • Beverly Ann Lorke Wimberly

YOAKUM - Growing up, Delores Lorke had always wanted a white Christmas, but living in Yoakum, she realized that would likely never become reality.

Enter Christmas 2004 - Lorke, 49 at the time, finally got her white Christmas. And then, the cancer took over and she died a month later.

The snow was enough to leave Lorke's surviving family with happy memories of the time Lorke's childhood dream came true.

"It's always a good feeling to know something as simple as a snowfall, she was able to experience before she passed away," Lorke's older sister, Beverly Lorke Wimberly, said.

Wimberly still lives in Yoakum, where she, Lorke and their other sister and brother grew up.

Lorke was 39 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought hard for 10 years, living in Victoria on her own and working with DeTar Healthcare Systems as a switchboard operator.

Lorke never married or had children but held her family very close to her heart, Wimberly said.

Lorke often spent time with Wimberly's kids. Today, the family has grown even more, something Lorke would have loved, her sister said.

"She loved those kiddos," Wimberly said.

Lorke's cancer went into remission but eventually came back, attacking her lungs and brain. At that time, she made the decision to move in with a sister in Yoakum - back to the property they all grew up on.

Wimberly recalls the times as kids, they would talk about wanting snow.

Even as adults, the idea of a white Christmas brought the child out in them.

"What kid doesn't want snow," Wimberly said, smiling. "Of course, except for the kids who always have it."

By Christmas 2004, the holiday spirit was in the air, and Lorke was sicker than ever, but she stayed strong.

"She knew her time was limited," Wimberly said. "She had said she thought it was her last Christmas."

It was. On Jan. 31, 2005, Lorke died, Wimberly said, happy to have seen snow.

Christmases have become easier, and the entire family still celebrates because Lorke would have wanted it that way, Wimberly said.

"We just miss her," she said. "You always wish you had more time. So make the most of the time you have."

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