Julianne Marguerite sat at her kitchen table, sipping on a cup of hot tea. She had just returned from driving 10 hours on the highway for a chance of a lifetime that she thought would never come her way. The day had been long and difficult, and she needed a quiet moment to recharge her soul. Earlier today, she had reunited with her eldest sister Louisa, whom she had not seen in almost forty years. Julianne was still dealing with the emotional impact her visit created.
The initial excitement of the reunion was beginning to fade as she sat recapping her day, pinching herself several times to prove that she was not dreaming. Truly what had happened today really did occur.
The years had been good to Louisa despite the rocky dysfunctional avalanche she grew up around during their earlier years together. As the oldest of her siblings Louisa carried a heavy load on her shoulders, while having to be responsible for her younger brothers and sisters as their parents busied themselves engaging in all the games that resulted from their part in a wife swapping escapade.
Julianne was only five years old when the affair began and this meant Louisa was seven years old, but Julianna can remember her sister in the shadows of her memory, running our household when their parents were gone, doing all the things adults should have done.
Although food was scarce during the early years, Louisa always seemed to find something to make for them to eat when they were hungry. Louisa entertained her siblings, disciplined them when it was needed and made sure they were clean, all the while also being responsible for keeping up with the laundry and making sure the house was clean and quiet when their parents came home.
Julianne swallowed another sip of her tea as she now began remembering more of all Louisa had done for her that she had taken for granted. She had then thought if she would ever had known what it would have been like to be held or to be loved if it had not been for Louisa. She also began to realize how this young child herself became their protective mother figure during such a small period of time and how many times she came between them and their parents and the other couple when they were abusive. She also wondered how this child knew what to do to keep them warm when they were cold, how to give them medicine when they were sick, and how to give them what she had never been shown herself.
They had not parted on speaking terms, yet after forty years she found herself wishing her sister’s presence, which was why she got together today. How could one have allowed all these years of absence to come between siblings? “How did I allow myself to ignore the one person who gave me her all in my younger years?” Julianne thought. Her mind reflected back on their visit and the immediate feeling they both had was that it was like they had never lost contact. It seemed as if they just picked up where they left off. No shame, or guilt, just acknowledgement of understanding why things were the way they were back then.
Tears were now pouring out of her heart through the chambers of her eyes and she became uneasy as she had realized that she had never thanked her sister for all she gone through for having to watch over Julianne growing up, protecting her and for trying to supplement for the lack of parental guidance and love. She thought about how she had never thanked her sister for giving up her own tender childhood years to do all she could to let them know someone cared about them and loved them.
Placing my cup back on the table, she began to wonder how a child could have known how to do all the things her sister had done for her and her brothers and sisters that one should have received from their parents, yet the parents had no desire or natural wish to bond with their children or to provide the essentials children needed from their parents.
She picked up the telephone and called Louisa to pour out her heartfelt gratitude to her for her sacrifices, and she thanked her with all her heart for being there during those earlier years. Now Louisa was crying as Julianne was the only one of the eleven children to say these words to her. The phone was silent for a long time.
Picture Courtesy: Two Sisters (1899) by Bessie Macnicol