“Friends come and go, but family is always there.”
I’m calling bullshit on that quote.
If you come from a dysfunctional family, please know that I empathize with you. If not, say a quick prayer of gratitude because you are in the rare minority.
If you haven’t read my prior posts on family, feel free to peruse:
However, in this post I want to focus on the immediate family, not the extended: the concept of sisterhood.
My sister emancipated herself from our family back in the beginning of 2014. At the time, it hurt a lot more than it hurts today, but I still have pangs of emptiness when I hear her name or the particular word, “sister.” I fully understand that Mr. Webster defines a sister as,
“a woman or girl in relation to other daughters and sons of her parents.”
Based off of this definition, one would surmise that a sister cannot be chosen. A “sister” is a girl/woman with whom one is assigned. No guarantees if you’ll be friends, whether or not you’ll love or hate one another, whether you have anything in common, etc.
My birth-sister and I used to be very good friends.
I still don’t understand what happened her senior year of high school and why she decided to make up a lie that sent my dad to jail for three nights. I don’t understand why she felt so alone that she had to put our entire family in jeopardy. I don’t understand that if she was feeling the way she was, why she didn’t feel comfortable coming to me with her concerns.
One thing that still pains me is why she hated me so much. I was asked by our lawyer to scour over her journal while dad was in jail. Reading the pages through tear-blurred eyes, I learned that she wanted so badly to disown me as her sister, and that I made her life a living hell while I was battling anorexia. In truth I was sick, I wanted to be dead too. I can’t say I blame her. I can’t imagine being the younger sister of someone so sick. I’d probably hate me too.
Through years and years of therapy, I’ve learned to forgive myself and I thankfully no longer live with the guilt of causing her and my family the pain that they had to go through.
It’s still hard when I first meet people and the siblings question comes up. For a while, I would make something up, and say I was an only child. I quickly realized that the truth is is only way to live life, and would answer truthfully whenever the answer came up,
“Yes, I have one younger sister, but she has become estranged over the years.”
That usually inhibits further questions being asked about her.
Thankfully I have had to privilege of growing close to Josh’s sister. She has such a beautiful soul, and I love how honest she is with me. I feel like I’ve known her much longer than just a 15 months. She’s so easy to talk to, be transparent with, laugh with, cry with; she’s just an all around awesome woman to spend time with.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciate her being real with me. When she came to Eau Claire for a weekend, she introduced us to the Netflix show Stranger Things, using sugared lemons instead of salted limes when taking Patron shots (haha) & Two-step at the bars 🙂
She sent me the following message the other day:
I literally teared up when I read her words. I’m used to viewing being a sister as more of an obligation, not so much a privilege. It’s so interesting to see how much meaning and depth goes into one simple, 6-letter word.
Sister: “One who non-judgmentally, lovingly, and wholeheartedly permeates through the walls we’ve built up around ourselves, and loves us unconditionally despite our shortcomings and blunders.”