Dear Sharon, Dear Sister,
I sit "meditating" or at least going through the motions, tears streaming down my cheeks, nose running as always when I cry, thinking about you. Appreciating you.
I can still connect with the way I used to see you as a child. There was no one cooler than you. Not even Sam the counselor at camp Nor Easter who we thought was soooo cool. She was cool, but you were still way cooler. I remember watching you at your Bat Mitzvah (of all times given that I now know that noone is cool at their bat mitzvah as it is pretty much a cruel joke to make kids who are going through their most awkward time of development get up in front of a bunch of people and sing in a language that they likely don't even know) thinking how you, my sister, were the most beautiful, interesting, creative person I knew. When you swam across the lakes you seemed invincible, strong, and confident. You were such a rebel, swimming across even though mom and dad told you not to. You were like a superhero coming to my defense when I got in fights with the neighbors. You paved the way in school, giving the teachers ideas that I would be a great student so that sometimes they didn't really notice that I wasn't. I could go on and on....the point is I idolized you and you showed me the way.
Thankfully I have since let you become a real person in my mind rather than an idol. A real person who is every bit as strong, smart, creative, caring, articulate, and talented as I thought you were. Ever since the time when I felt jealous of Marcy because I thought she was taking up the sister space in you, and you listened compassionately to me as I cried to you on the phone while reading the letter I wrote about i,t I feel gratitude that our relationship has become more and more real. I have enjoyed every time we talk or spend time together, realizing that our relationship was becoming more and more the relationship I always wanted with you, sister.
We share a common history and you understand me in ways that noone else can really get. I am in awe that even after so many years of increasing connection I still learn something from each interaction I have with you.
In the last few years I have found myself frequently stopping and feeling gratitude for what I have in you, in us. I think "I have the best sister in the world."
In the midst of dealing with the potential loss of sister, working a full time job, maintaining home and partnership, and supporting frightened parents, you were there for me like a guiding light, grounded and rooted like our maple tree in the front yard. You protected me on our drive home, cooked beautiful nutritious meals for me, organized my stuff and helped bring life to my space....you came every weekend even though I was miserable to be around and could give you nothing.... you pulled me out of bed and got me outside into the fresh air.... you asked me hard questions and illuminated things I couldn't see for myself, and sat with me when I cried in despair.... you played your banjo for me in the hospital and sat around in that miserable place supporting me as you watched me in pain, drugged up, loosing weight, loosing hope... you made schedules for me and encouraged me to live each day as if it was worth more than just passing time.... you found chi gong for yourself and through your excitement about it got me into it.... you even helped clean up my vomit which I know really grosses you out... you smoked pot with me even though it gave us headaches and wasn't much fun.... you cut and shaved my hair, tried to make mobiles even though it is the kind of tedious thing that I like and you do not.... harvested autumn olives and made fruit leather.... you took the brunt of the challenging emotional upheaval in our family..... made room in the compost pile so composting could resume in the household.... and on and on..... you encouraged me to go to the place where it seems that healing became reality. It was you who pushed me to go to see Tom Tam and to try Tong Ren.
All of this you did for me and gave to me, and now I see the toll it has taken on you. Now that we get a break from the fear and grief and there is space for you to breathe, I worry about you. Who is supporting you. I know that Rachel is there for you in so many ways but this has been a crazy ride for her too. Who is pampering you, encouraging you to pamper yourself, helping to make your life a little easier. What kind of support do you need. I feel uncomfortable because I have taken center stage and you feel invisible. I wanted you and Rachel and baby making to take the attention for a while. It wasn't my turn.
How can I celebrate you, my sister, "the best sister in the world."
I love you so much.
I sit here typing this letter to you, tears streaming down my cheeks, nose running, thinking about you, appreciating you.