The Writer’s Corner: The Special Love of Sisters

The Writer’s Corner: The Special Love of Sisters
January 30
01:35 2020

By Dorothy E. D’Annunzio

Sisters are really special.

I am the youngest of six girls. My daughter, however, being an only child, will never understand the complicated dynamics of having sisters … and the pain of losing them.

On May 28, 2016, my sister Darlene, 73, passed away after a long illness. Fifty-four years earlier, to the day, we lost our mother at age 43. Somehow I knew Darlene was waiting for that day to leave us.

There was a time when we were as close as any two people can be. But like a lot of families, we grew apart, but I never stopped loving her. I am thankful that we were able to spend quality time together at the end. I think of her often and will always miss her.

On Christmas Day 2019, my sister Dolores passed away at the age of 76.  Once again, I somehow knew she was waiting for that day to leave us. Two years ago she came to live with us in North Carolina and it was one of the best years of my life. It was also one of the most difficult. Her diabetes was out of control; her kidneys were failing; she needed to be watched constantly. I became her caregiver, her chauffeur, her card-playing partner, her movies mate. She called me her drill sergeant. She cheated at cards then got mad at me when I won. Most of the movies we saw were what she wanted to see – I usually fell asleep. She would ask the most embarrassing questions, always when I was corralled in the car and couldn’t avoid them. Almost everywhere we went, I would inevitably take a wrong turn. She would laugh and say it was a new area for us to see.  

When her kidneys started to shut down, she refused dialysis and the decision was made to take her back home to Michigan to be with her children and grandchildren.  

The last time I saw Dolores was in July 2019.  She was healthy enough to know I was there and happy enough to eat the White Castle hamburgers I brought for her.

My remaining sisters are scattered around the country.  One I see when I go back to Michigan. One I haven’t seen since 1990, but we talk on the phone occasionally. One is completely out of my life. There’s the complicated -sister dynamics.

The biggest lesson I have learned in life is, you cannot help someone who will not help themselves. We all make our own choices in life and in death.  

And you can’t pick your siblings.  Just love them and laugh, either with them or at them.

Sisters really are special.

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