I read a mystery last week.  It’s the first mystery I’ve read in a year.  The last?  I read it to my sister as she was dying.  One year later and I still miss her.

I don’t know why I stopped reading for pleasure.  Reading was a pleasure that I’ve always known in life, my sister gave that to me.  She was 15 when I was born and used to read to me before I could read for myself.  And over the years, we’ve enjoyed many of the same genres.  Sharing books, discussing plots, characters and choices that were made.

Since she died, everything has been non-fiction.  Some of it work related, some of it blog related.  But none of it just for the delight of reading.  Reading for the pure pleasure of meeting new characters, in new places was a shared love that we had.  And it stopped for me when I closed the cover on the last mystery that we shared together.

When she was in the hospital last year, on the breathing tube, I decided to read to her.  I found two new books at her house, authors that we both enjoyed. She would have read these books and then passed them on to me to read.  I took one of the books to the hospital and read it to her each day.  Each night I would read a chapter or two or three from the book.  The nurses said that she could hear, even though she was kept sedated.  So I kept reading.  I hope it comforted her.  I know it comforted me.

Each night when I got there, her husband and sons would greet me, update me on her status and then leave.  They knew how important reading was to her.  Her house is filled with bookcases stacked with books.  And books were on the floor next to her chair.  It’s where I found these books and why I knew she hadn’t read them yet–it was her waiting to be read pile.  Each night, her husband thanked me for reading to her.  I knew it comforted him as well.

When I finished the book, I said my final good-bye.  After I left, they removed her breathing tube.

The other new book sat in my car.  It stayed there for almost a year.  I’m not sure why I didn’t bring it in the house.  But even when I finally brought it in the house, all I did was put it on a shelf.  I couldn’t bring myself to read it.  Not yet.  I pushed it aside, moved it to other shelves, but I didn’t read it.  Once, I did open the cover and read the first page and then I put it aside again.

But last week, while on a stay-cation, I pulled out the book and I read it in one sitting from the first page in the morning until the last page in the evening.  It felt good to read it, I missed the characters from the series.  In the time between when I picked up the book at her house and when I finally read it, the author had already published another book in the same series. And I realized that it’s ok to enjoy reading, that she was still with me when I read.