My mother always stressed how important my sister and I are to each other. Whenever we fought, and, like all siblings do, we DID fight, she would remind us that sometimes, and perhaps someday, we would be all we had. “When your friends are not there for you, or you have lost a love, anything, your sister will be there,” she would say, and how right she was. She was an only child so I guess she felt the value of having a sister more than we did at the time. As it happened, thankfully, our Uncle Howard, my father’s older brother, married my Aunt Helen who too was an only child. Now, my mom literally grew up with my dad and his brothers because my grandmothers were best friends. It naturally followed that Marilyn and Helen became “sisters” big-time. They were pretty much inseparable for most of their lives. Again, like siblings, they had their moments, but all was always forgiven in the end.
This is a plaque in my room. A gift from my sweet sis’, it greets me every morning. I smile.
I am so grateful to my mother, OUR mother for instilling this gratitude in us. Our love and caring and support for each other have carried us through many an emotional trauma. We’ve spent plenty of long sleepless nights on the phone or in person working through life’s challenges. We both have wonderful friends, of course, who have shared their support through the ups and downs, but there is something beyond special about our sisterly relationship.
Losing Mom this spring and taking care of all that was necessary following her passing has been proof of that. We cared for her right there at home, with the help of hospice, but it was just the two of us there for most of the last days and at the end. Joan and I spent two and a half months together under the same roof, a true test indeed. We hadn’t been together for more than a few days or a week, maybe, since childhood. Oh, we did have a couple of skirmishes, but Mom’s words got us through. We didn’t say it out loud, but I know we were both thinking it. In a moment, one time, we did tell each other that we thought Mom would be proud of us.
If you have a sibling or siblings, I hope you are close like we are. I have to say that Mom would often comment on how happy she was that we appreciate each other like we do. She spoke of friends whose children didn’t even speak to each other — ever. I have friends like that. Very sad.
About Jan Schim
Jan is a singer, a songwriter, a licensed body worker specializing in CranioSacral Therapy, and a teacher. She is an advocate for the ethical treatment of ALL animals and a volunteer with several animal advocacy organizations. She is also a staunch believer in the need to promote environmental responsibility.
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