Sisterhood

When my mother died four years ago, I felt like I’d lost a good friend as well as a mother. She was my greatest supporter, along with my husband and kids. I used to think that this was par for the course and just part of being a mother, but I’ve since realised that not everyone has this experience. I think everyone needs a cheerleader in their lives, someone to listen to you, even when you are being unreasonable, someone to tell you to keep going when things aren’t going well.

When I was in my late fifties, my mum sent me a stanza from a poem enclosed in a birthday card. The poem about being an adventurer in the world and was scribbled out on a scrap of paper in her usual fashion. She was forever recycling bits of paper and envelopes, sometimes you even got second-hand birthday and Christmas cards.

My mum was a very unsentimental person and would frequently give away birthday and Christmas gifts within moments of receiving them, sometimes while you were still in the room, so when she sent me that scrap of a poem, I loved it because I knew it meant that she understood that I was struggling with getting older and wondering what was left for me. She wanted me to know that everything would be okay and that there were plenty of adventures yet to come.

I still miss her very much, but since she’s been gone, I’ve developed a much closer relationship with my eldest sister who lives 2,000 kilometres away on the other side of Australia. I have two older sisters and a younger brother, and we all get along really well, but my eldest sister and I have gotten much closer in the last few years. She moved out of home when I was in my early teens and we have rarely lived in the same city in the past forty years, but these days we email or message one another several times a week. We share thoughts, dreams and frustrations. We talk about our mum, swap recipes, and complain about our sore backs and stiff shoulders. We frequently make unkind comments about “stupid people”. She badgers me about whether or not I’m writing (I asked her to) and always comments on my blog posts, even when they aren’t very remarkable.

I’m grateful for all my siblings, but it’s especially wonderful to have a sister who doesn’t judge you and is interested in the most mundane aspects of your life. It makes the loss of my mother easier to bear, and I’m so glad we’ve reconnected. Here’s to you Bev!

Bev and Marg enjoying spending time together in London

15 thoughts on “Sisterhood

  1. I made the mistake of reading this at work on a Saturday evening. People don’t want to see a teary bar tender serving them! Beautiful sentiments. I feel very lucky to be part of the family I have. Was just talking to my two siblings this week about how we all miss Nola very much.

  2. I only came to value the relationship With my sister In recent years. I left home at 19 and not long after that she moved interstate. Our paths rarely crossed and our interests certainly didn’t – or at least that’s what I thought. I made no effort to keep in contact. It was only in my mid 50s when she came to stay for a few months did we realise how much we had in common, and how we enjoyed each other’s company. Even though we are still in different states, we connect regularly. I really like that.

    1. It’s great that you have reconnected with your sister. There’s a lot to be said for having a shared history, you don’t need to explain a lot of your background or quirks (like re-using the wrapping paper).

  3. Oh Margaret, that made me quite tearful. It is fantastic to have someone to whinge to without judgement – I miss that most about Mum. I often think of her when I write my shopping lists on the back of a used, but perfectly good, envelope. A family trait I think. Thanks so much for your beautiful blog. xxx

  4. Never having had a supportive relationship with my mum, my eldest sister has always had a special place in my heart. Totally understand where you are coming from!

    1. I’m happy that you have that relationship. I have a friend who doesn’t get on with two of her sisters and hasn’t spoken to her brother for 30 years. She’s very envious of me.

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