I think as one gets older having a sister to share “old lady” things with becomes ever so much more important. I’m not “old” yet (ahem), but as the years go on God willing, I’ll get there. I met my sister while attending college twelve years ago, though it seems like just yesterday. Up until then I had spent my entire adult life never knowing what having a sister to talk to, turn to, share life’s ups and downs with, and create real memories with even looked like. For twenty-seven years my best friend has been, and of course will always be, my husband. But, a girl sometimes needs another girl to discuss some of life’s more sensitive subjects with–and that’s how I met Janet. She started a conversation one day about marriage, which, by the way, is a favorite topic of mine and we became fast friends. Janet was in school for nursing and I for accounting and a couple of our courses overlapped. We spent time before class, after class, and most noon hours together cramming for one exam or another. From there she taught me how to knit–something I’d always wanted to learn and then it was Friday night chats before bed discussing each other’s weekend plans. Eventually we became one another’s greatest cheerleader–I when she didn’t think she’d make it through all the exams and technical parts of nursing school while nursing a fourth month old. Her, when I was taking 18 credits while working full-time, and commuting two hours three times a week to school.
Black Friday shopping was made easier because of her. She made it fun and was ever the optimist that we’d get all the great deals. We shared recipes, and challenged each other to make fabulous sometimes outrageous desserts. I was the organizer to her chaotic mess. A perfect balance of opposites, yet our friendship was absolutely perfect. There was no jealousy, or envy, or resentment. We were no-judgement and honestly, I don’t think Janet had a mean or spiteful or petty bone in her body. Oh she was stubborn. I think that may have been the one quality we shared.
She was sweet by nature and giving toward everyone. Qualities that made her a great nurse. She was just as passionate about eating good food and taking care of herself as I. Her and I shared the goal of kicking sugar once and for all and we both succeeded! Janet helped me to learn how to trust others and in doing so opened my world up to having more friends in my life. For so long our friends, though great friends, were in ways superficial. People we knew through church or work or? that we did things with because that’s what people do. The friends we have now are different in that we know them and they us and we’re here for one another. In a sense we’re connected. My friendship/sister relationship with Janet was different in that she and I were more sisters than friends and had a bond with one another. I never had to worry about getting hurt by her or her feeling resentment or hate or anything negative toward me. We both knew the other wasn’t perfect, but “fixing” each other, or tearing each other down, or being unkind or competitive just wasn’t what our relationship was about. Instead it was about building each other up, caring about each other, helping each other (without feeling we owed the other), checking in on one another, and laughs. Great big belly laughs, maybe snorts? laughter just the same at the craziest things.
Midnight chats, DMs, meme’s, our own words for things, reminiscing, favorite books, remedies, Black Friday shopping, recipes, learning to make fudge before class, exams, finals week, graduation, first farmer’s market haul, Grey’s Anatomy, flowers lot of flowers, the fair, her life as a mom, wife chat, menopause, kitchen remodels, girl talk, knitting, shopping, hairstyles, tears, and yes more laughter. I miss you. Before you I had no clue what having a sister would be like. No idea it would be so awesome and that we didn’t have to grow up together to feel like we’d known each other our whole lives. I know it sounds cliche, but knowing you has changed me forever. You were everything I ever dared dream that a sister, best friend, and confidante could be. I’ll miss you every time I make fudge, pick strawberries, wrap gifts, watch Grey’s, and start a new book. I’ll see you again one day and when I do I’ll have all kinds of “old lady” jokes to share with you. God willing.
**My friend Janet, mother of two, wife, nurse, just shy of 40, died a year ago today from Covid. All of her friends and family miss her dearly.**
Be well friends and be safe!