The Gift of Love, Strength and Endurance from an Amazing Sister
--by sethi, posted May 14, 2010
From the Soul Curry Column in the Times of India (April 9, 2010)
My mom was nearing 40, my dad a few years older and there were their three lovely children just getting out of their teens — it was picture-perfect, that is, until I decided to come along.
She was just 20 when I arrived, but from the moment she put her finger into my little palm, I cottoned on to it and knew I had found a friend. She smothered me with love, sang sweet lullabies, soothed a fevered brow, gently scolded and cajoled me out of the cradle and into the walkie-talkie world.
My first words were little songs and bits of nursery rhymes. School was a bit hard, because my parents were always mistaken to be my ‘grandparents’, much to my dismay. But she was there and told me that I was not to worry about what the ‘others’ thought. It was more important to value and love those around me, unconditionally — and that a little greying hair could well be fashionable!
She was an amazing story-teller and I learned many a lesson — lessons about what really mattered in life. So it was a very sad day when she decided to join a convent. I could not imagine a life without her. As the tears came, I sternly told myself that the only way out of this was for me to grow up fast and then join her.
But does a friend really leave you? Not if they are like ‘her’. She continued to mould me ‘in absentia’. Through her letters. I lived for them. I could write to her just about anything; she always replied and always had an answer to my questions.
As I grew up, she travelled on various postings. The letters remained just as frequent. Through them I travelled to places she had seen. And she always came back from those trips with a memento of the places she had visited, which I still have and cherish.
She graced my wedding day with her presence, was with me after the birth of each of our three children, stood by me as I battled with cancer and lent her loving shoulder to weep on at the sudden loss of my husband — all of which took place in the space of eight short years.
In the months following this loss, I remained in limbo and during this time, her letters didn’t just come, they poured. It was not important to her that I did not reply as before. She just kept on writing, words of love, encouragement, gently prodding me to pick up the pieces of my life — there was no plan, just a getting up and going on, one step at a time, one day at a time. She helped mend my broken wings so I could fly once more.
So, this one’s for you my dearest sister. “The days and years still blossom with seeds of love she sows... A sister is that lifelong blessing your heart never outgrows.”