I have one sister and one half- brother. Yes, having a brother comes as a shock to most who know us. I don’t know much about my half-brother. We didn’t grow up together. I am the eldest. Growing up my sister was the passive one. I was the aggressive one. We had no choice but to get along. After all, we were all we had. One day we hated each other and the next we’d kill for each other. We’ve gotten into fist fights and everything in high school. I don’t know how my mom survived those years without killing us. After high school, we both got married when we turned 18 and “grew up” instantly.
We’ve seen each other through our ups and downs in life. We have the most dysfunctional love hate relationship. We never grew up hugging or showing affection openly. It was an unspoken love. On the outside, we appear to hate each other, compete with each other almost. But really, it’s quite the opposite. All our lives it was always just my mom, my sister, and I. For many years, our husbands had to compete with the loyalty we had for each other. No matter how mad we would get or how bad our fights were, it only took one phone call for help. We would drop everything we were doing to pick each other up.
My sister has endured a very trying marriage. She has and continues to work night and day to provide for her family (especially when her husband chose not to). She has survived a painful and agonizing marriage and divorce. The damage he has done to her confidence, her self-esteem, and her ability to fight is outright disgusting.
Now, we learn that she has Lupus. What more can this world throw at her? Despite her illness, she continues to work long hours while caring for her three kids the best way she can. She has her strong moments where she puts her foot down and stands up for herself. When that happens, we capitalize on it because we know she will get tired and stop fighting. I cannot help but wonder if the years of stress have eaten away at her immune system thus causing the lupus to strike? Could this have been avoided? Or was she always walking around with it in her system just waiting to emerge its ugly head? The big question, why her, and not me? Of all people in my family, why not ME? I’m stronger than she is. I have a husband who will support me through it all. I am not struggling financially. And most importantly, I have my faith to rely on.
As painful as the lupus is for her, she continues to work every day (she has 2 jobs), tends to her kids, and maintains her household. She has been told that she will need to start chemotherapy. She is going to need support more than ever when that starts. The reason I’m blogging about her is because displaying affection is not one of my strong points. I write better than I speak. I am able to get my thoughts out better on paper then I can directly in front of someone. I get overwhelmed with emotion.
People who know me probably think I’m mean, strict, and harsh. It’s because I have so much love inside of me that when I exhibit it, it doesn’t come out in trickles. It’s like a broken fire hydrant erupting in the middle of the street. I’m not one to say I love you often. But those who know me, know I love them. I don’t have to say it. I don’t throw those three words around without deep sincerity. A lot of people I know have a very easy time saying it. I don’t. Perhaps it’s because it exposes a sensitive side of me? I often mistake sensitivity for vulnerability and weakness. When really, its strength.
In my life, I’ve dealt with the loss of a cousin and my dad early in life. They both died suddenly with no warning. It was from those experiences that I have learned to enjoy every day. Be thankful you wake up every morning. And never take your life for granted because you could be gone in the blink of an eye. I may not verbally say I love you but I try my best to show it (in my own very odd ways).
My sister’s birthday was utterly destroyed years ago. Hopefully, now that she has closed that chapter of her life, she can now move forward and enjoy her birthday for years to come.
Happy Birthday Jood.