I love thinking about relationships, all the different kinds, and how they impact our lives, shape us and mold us, encourage and bless us.
This story I’m about to share has been working its way around in my heart and mind over the past week since my sister was admitted to the hospital with v-tach (still haven’t checked for proper spelling of this condition). She called me from her car, yes, she was driving, to ask, “what happens when you have episodes where you pass out?” Knowing immediately she wasn’t well but also knowing she needed the info for which she inquired, I began to give her the details of my past episodes of losing consciousness. I then quickly asked, “what is wrong?” She explained the symptoms she was having and we talked while she made her way home. Soon after we hung up she messaged me that she was in Piedmont ER being checked out.
So then the quandary ensued…”I need to get to Atlanta, but Noah has to be picked up from school soon…should I call someone to get him so I can leave immediately to go be with Angie or should I wait and see what the initial assessment reveals…she could be home by the time I can get there if they deem this something minor…but what if she needs me…is she afraid??? I really need to get there!” As much for me as for her, I needed to be close.
Somehow it just seems that nearness adds strength to those we love in times of need…
We messaged back and forth and the initial assessment was not alarming so I was waiting for more info before leaving Rome. Since I was restless, I decided to take Noah by the bookstore to pass the time until I could learn more about my sister. I received a call from my brother-in-law who was out of town on business while I was in the bookstore and he shared the most recent update from the hospital…Angie would be admitted and she was having a very irregular and elevated heart rhythm and rate.
Noah overheard my side of the conversation and took my hand as I reached for his to leave one of his favorite places without hesitation. He asked, “are we going to Atlanta? Mom, are you sad?” My insightful and sensitive little guy was right on target. I explained he would be staying home with Dad and I would be going to be with Angie for the night. He didn’t even flinch as this made sense given his experience and understanding of the relationship between myself and “Mimi.”
Erick readily agreed to meet us at home and I rushed in to get everything ready to leave…Such a long hour and 15 minutes from the time I left the bookstore headed home until I could pack and prepare to be gone for a day or two. Everything seemed to be taking much longer than I needed for it to and my mind made checklists as I went from room to room readying Noah’s clothes for the next day, checking his homework folder, feeding the dog, packing my bags, etc. Goodness, all the chores I unthinkingly do every day has to be thought about when I’m preparing to be away for a bit of time…
Finally, I found myself in the car bound for Atlanta. I loaded the CD player with some of my favorite Christian praise music and set out. I made a few necessary phone calls and then settled in to calm my mind and take my heart to the Lord. As I drove, I took great comfort and encouragement as I listened to the words of the songs…”Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth would hear me when I call?” Another song brought chill bumps and tears as it washed over me reminding me that “Mercy will never let go.” Heather called just before I reached the hospital. She was with Noah, Justice was with Erick, and all was well on the home front. Knowing that she had gone to be there with Noah touched my heart and gave peace and comfort. She questioned about Angie and I could hear the child she once was in the words she spoke and the tenderness she was feeling toward me and her aunt. My children love “Mimi” and so do I.
Thankfully, the doctors and nurses took wonderful care of my sister and medication soon brought her heart into a normal range in both rate and rhythm. My brother-in-law had a safe flight back to Atlanta and made it to Angie’s side. There we were, all together, and so very thankful things were as well as how we were finding them to be. A heart procedure is scheduled but prognosis is excellent…so very thankful for that!
As with all experiences, this scare with my sister’s health has fueled many thoughts and memories some I wish to share here…
Have you ever heard someone say, “of course you love her/him, he/she is family”? I’ve heard that before and given much thought to it. Some think it means people commit to love or “have to” love someone because they are related. I think of it very differently. When I say, “of course I love her, she’s my sister!” What I mean is this. From my very first day of life, I’ve had a sister. I love to imagine and I’m sure it happened, being a tiny newborn babe lying in the bassinet that everyone of us, my sister and all of our children, have laid in, and looking up to see those large brown eyes and that thick, wavy, dark hair and that perfectly beautiful face that belonged to my 4 year old sister, only to find her looking right back at me.
Studying Psychology, I learned many years back, that children attach to the familiar. Indeed that is accurate, and there has never been anyone or anything more familiar to me than my sister. As I’ve shared in many previous blogs, we lived out in the country and life was slow and the entire world seemed to consist of just that small community and the few people, many of whom were family, that lived close by. Given there were so few of us and home was the primary place to be, my sister constituted far more in my life than some siblings do for one another. She was my teacher, my companion, and my friend. Since she was older, and as far as I could tell perfect in every way, I wanted to be just like her!
Truth be told, I wasn’t very much like her at all, not personality wise anyway, but that did not thwart my efforts to copy, to emulate, and to follow her every move, not in the least! We often laugh about how enthusiastic I could be at times and how reserved she was by nature. We were quite a pair, but OH how I loved her, and still do!
As we’ve grown and each gone out into the world and have grown our own families, built our own homes, I’ve only grown to love, admire, and respect her more. And as time has passed and I’ve come to understand her and myself better, I realize we are and have always been far more alike than I once knew. I guess the best way to explain that is to say that though we express ourselves differently, deep down I believe we are very much the same. We both want life to be good for everyone. We hate all the suffering and sorrow in the world, the hurt that is out there that doesn’t have to be. Each in our own way, we try our best to alleviate heartache, to love and be loved, to give, to share, and to bless.
Some of the deepest and best conversations I’ve ever had in my entire life has been with my sister. There is nothing we haven’t talked about, considered together, and whether we agree or disagree, the foundation of respect remains secure. I believe this respect has grown out of the understanding we have of each other’s hearts. So many things, so very many things, may have particular significance to me and anyone other than my sister would miss that, they do not know me, my past, my struggles, my hurts in ways that would illuminate for them the reasons why the significance exists. But my sister, she would simply know without me having to utter a word. What a bond…what a gift…what a blessing…
I’ve often said, I think my love for my sister is akin to the love I have for my children. Sometimes it seems to me that if any one of them ceased to breathe, my breath would halt as well because my connection to them is so deep and pure. Yet, I know this is not true, and some day I or my dear sister may have to face days without the other, but I cannot even begin to imagine that sort of grief. When I see those honest eyes, ones I’ve looked into for my whole, entire life, and I find in them traces of fear, or worry, or sadness, my own heart aches right along with her’s and I always wish I could take her pain away. Just as I feel when one of my own little ones hurt. That is a precious love.
And laughter…there is NO ONE who can make me laugh like Angie can. I’ve been cracking up at her for 41 years and I’m certain she will keep me laughing for all the years yet to come. Those quick phone calls with funny stories or pokes of fun pertaining to something ridiculous I’ve done in the past all add up to many smiles and light-hearted moments. Private jokes from a lifetime of knowing every silly thing a person has done makes for an easy time of being together. There’s just nothing hidden and love is stronger as a result.
One thing I must share to shed light on my sister’s sense of humor as I bring this to a close…when Noah was born, I was one month shy of age 35 and had already raised one child so I had not been mother to an infant in 17 years. I was overly protective and I’m quite the germ phobe at my very best so post-partum I was an emotional mess! When Noah was just 8 weeks old a bat got into our house and had apparently spent the night flying around in our bedrooms while we slept. We discovered him at first light the next day as he was still circling above our bed! We learned we all had to receive rabies immunization because we could have been bitten, everyone, including my infant son…ohhh, I cannot begin to tell you how traumatized I was! So…my sister came to spend a few days to comfort and assist.
I had yet to sleep a night through since having Noah and eight weeks in I was struggling. Angie took over and had Noah sleeping well, extending his hours of sleep magically. She teased saying she threatened to send him back if he didn’t let his Mama get some rest. Now, she said that with that smirky little grin that perfectly defines her personality. Then, since I was still somber and anxious she said, “And I have the perfect idea for Noah’s halloween costume this year…he can be BAT MAN!!!” I put on a front, acting as if I was disgusted with her attempt at humor, yet inside I was secretly rolling with laughter!
My sister…what a girl!