Losing a Sister

In the past week I've lunched with two friends who lost a sister, one recently, the other a while back. Since my sister died in May, our conversations wind around the theme of sisterhood and what it feels like to be the one left behind.

Yes, Mom made our dresses!
In two of the three cases the sister was younger. Both left behind families that needed them, making it more of a tragedy than simply the loss of a sibling. We take comfort in supporting them in whatever ways we can. In all three cases death leaves a void for us, a person whose role can't be filled by anyone living. Sisters grow up together, so we can't start over and build a new sister relationship. We might have sister-like people in our lives, but nothing replaces that person who was always there in your childhood, your strongest supporter one moment and the one who tried to stab you with a knitting needle the next.

The loss of someone who understands you intuitively, a person who shares the same roots, experiences, memories, and to a large extent, world view, is a shock. Who can I talk to about this or that? Who can I call when I need to hear a familiar voice? Who already knows I'm a little weird and therefore won't judge me when I make my latest confession or launch yet another rant?

There isn't a perfect answer, but the best one is the friends I mentioned in the first sentence. They don't know me as well as my sister did, but they know what it's like to share a lifetime with someone and then lose her. We talk. They listen. I listen. We'll get through it.


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