I have seven wonderful brothers and sisters. Together as siblings we have weathered many storms; Mom’s cancer years, Dad’s sudden massive heart attack and Michael’s rare disease.
I love them both collectively and individually and share unique relationships with each of them, especially with my three sisters. As women and mothers, we travel a road distinct from my brothers. We recognize features in each other that nurture the treasured place we come from. Others comment about the similarities we have, which are proud moments for me.
The last few years, I've shared a weekend with my sisters at an exclusive B&B up north. (That's what I call my youngest sister’s home!) This year, four turned into three because my oldest sister was missing. Ovarian cancer treatment currently limits her choices, but a faithful and hopeful optimism continues, leading her towards a healthy future.
I struggled with whether or not we should do sisters weekend this spring since all of my sisters weren’t able to partake. Should we still go regardless of my oldest sister’s plea to go with out her? This particular week was picked months ago for an opportunity to watch our nephew’s high school play performance. We certainly didn’t want to disappoint him in having “the aunties” from his Mom’s side in the audience.
During my decision making process I began to recall times when I encouraged my siblings to do things without me during some of our personal healthcare circumstances. That actually helped me make my final decision.
We don’t always get to choose what we do, or if it will be together or apart. There are seasons each of us will walk a narrow path purposely built only wide enough for one. In life’s occasions one might be missing, either temporarily or permanently. I believe the best way to honor anyone missing is to live life joyfully and make decisions that best represents them. Joy isn’t simply defined by what is, but in what was and in anticipating what is to come.
In grief, one is acutely aware of something missing and eventually learns to adjust accordingly. In grieving my parent’s death and then my son Michael’s, I have experienced the importance of making choices filled with life giving energy. My parents often said, no matter what, with or without them, we are a family. They showed us that in standing together, we lighten the load of life’s burdens. Now I see my siblings demonstrate that philosophy, respecting the words of wisdom passed down by two people we adore.
I just returned home from my northern retreat with my two sisters. We had a good time but certainly aware of one sister missing. In our hearts, she came with us. We look forward to the next time we are all together to Be The Change!