My sisters are the ones who know that country better than me. I always tease them about how much they know: they remember everything. My older sister knows the extended family and their families like a genealogist. I forget extended family members and stand there feeling adopted when introduced to them.
But what I do remember is the precious memories I have with them. From the paroxysms of laughter from our childhood days to today. We laugh so much that sometimes that the rest of our family just stare at us in amazement of how much we can laugh. We leave them perplexed about what was so funny. We probably didn't know either. We just go on laughing, each setting the other off again, and laugh until we ache.
How do our two precious brothers contend with the three of us, we wonder?
Siblings can be many things: friends, allies, role models — and let's face it, sometimes they can just be annoying and they frustrate us. Sometimes we shout at them. Most times we just love them to bits despite all of this.
Suddenly, a “bolt from the blue” hits your family. Your sibling lands up in hospital, undergoes critical surgery, and fights for her life. It adds another dimension to your relationship — and to your life. The emotions and feelings are pretty intense; confusing, and that feeling of helplessness sets in. There are so many loops and layers to this emotional ride one is on. The questions one has, and the answers which you feel are so sketchy and vague.
Everyone handles crises differently. I shut down go into a protective cocoon, and find solace in writing.
My sister is only 6 years older than me. She is that one sibling we all have. That fearless fighter on the battlefield of family-hood. She will rail road anyone who messes with her immediate family members. She is strong and fiercely independent. So for us to see her lying on a hospital bed, with tubes and pipes, makes me realize the fragility of life, the fine thread of attachment, the bond of family, and how we are at the mercy of our Creator. Every day we have is precious, and, as the saying goes, “you don’t know if you will be here in the next second.”
To see her lying there, shatters me. I would give up everything just to be by her side, and help her ease her pain, but all I can do is just pray. I am not a doctor. I don’t have any special superpowers. All I have is the power of prayer, the tears to beg for her recovery, and the emotions to talk incessantly to our Creator. Truth be told, those hard trying times people talk about hit our family 3 years ago with almost losing our brother in a car accident, to our mother departing this world and now our sister traumatic aneurysm.
We face challenges as a family. They will undoubtedly be great. These challenges will either define us, or strengthen us, but they will never destroy us. With family, (the word family includes not only blood relations, but all those who have a significant connection to the person who is in need of our love and support) we will rise above the difficulties. When everything else is immaterial, we see what truly matters. Every day we are taught why family is so important and why the bonds we have are priceless. Somehow we always have faith in the people we love, and we have faith in ourselves as individuals. Together we are more powerful than the challenges. We will not let the challenges define us.
We have learnt from our mother that the greatest strength is the power to keep fighting. As hard as this is and feels, it will pass! It won’t last forever, and we all will come out just fine.
The keys to life are running and reading.
When you're running, there's a little person that talks to you and says,
"Oh I'm tired. My lung's about to pop. I'm so hurt.
There's no way I can possibly continue." You want to quit.
If you learn how to defeat that person when you're running,
you will know how to not quit when things get hard in your life.
For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. "
There's no new problem you could have - with your parents, with school, with a bully.
There's no new problem that someone hasn't already had and written about it in a book.”
– Will Smith
Everything will be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end.