Thursday, May 5, 2011

S is for Sister

I knew this note was going to be a big one. Much like “P,” “S” has been weighing on me almost from the beginning of this exercise in self-help. Only one word could be used for this letter…SISTER. T.J. Wray said it best when she wrote, “From schoolyard bullies to teenage broken hearts, from careers to marriage to dreams [fulfilled or] unfulfilled, our [sisters] have been there through it all, life partners in our journey through time.”

I remember beating up that bully because he threatened Gayla’s safety and standing firm with my mother as she told the school they could not punish me for it. Gayla and I shared each others’ heartbreaks too because when she hurt, I hurt and vice versa. As adults Gayla would not allow me to reinact that school yard justice mostly because she knew it wasn’t really in me to duke it out. We both hated confrontation. However, she knew I would if she would give me the okay because I wanted her safe and protected. I was an adult before I knew she felt similarly for me. Gayla told me once that it hurt HER feelings when people insulted me for my weight. She then said, it was the same hurt she felt when they would turn around in the same breath and tell her she was “too skinny.” I spent all my life looking up to Gayla and wanting to be just like her only to find out in that moment that she felt the same way about me. Although different in so many more ways than we were alike, Gayla and I shared the same heart and core values. She was my biggest fan and I was hers. This made us more than sisters, it made us friends and partners in this life.

My one and only “freak out” so far included me screaming at the top of my lungs, “It’s not supposed to be like this. We are not supposed to do this until we are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY OLD!” Gayla and I used to joke that the nursing home we shared would have to call Darby to report we had been racing our motorized wheelchairs in the hall again or throwing pudding in the dining room. Who am I supposed to race and start food fights with now?

Once again, in order to find my inspiration today, I enlisted my friends and was blown away by the love and friendship among sisters that poured in. My wish is for none of you to ever feel this sort of pain and loss. That you get to be those old ladies getting in trouble together if not for racing in the hallway, then for throwing your pudding at the other inmates. I salute the treasure of sisters who inspired me today and also their sisters who support, inspire, love, and cherish each of them equally. I pray you each reach out to your sister today and hug, kiss, praise, or whatever you’re able to do. I thought I would have a life time to continue praising and loving my Gayla only to have her stolen away from me way too soon.

Praise and love to all of the following sisters: Lacy and Kellie, Nikki, Jenny and Karri, Holly and Kerensa, Shelley and Shannon, Sarah and Rachael, Philicia and Deborah (sending you so many prayers of healing), Tamara and Deanna, and Sarah, Annie, Becky, Alex and Jackie. Mama Kathy I love you and am thankful for you every day.

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