Jerry Is My Sister


It’s funny how life works out.

Jerry always was quick and sharp to correct me if I ever identified myself  or introduced her as my sister . ‘She’s my half-sister’!, would immediately fly from her mouth that looks just like our dad’s, if I ever tried to claim her as all mine.  My stubborness caused me to be hurt and embarrassed by her this way quite a few times.

I had wanted to get to know my Jerry, who is technically my half sister,  all my life and had made many attempts over the years to spend time with her and hopefully bond, to not much success. I had come to feel that her emotional and social distance and elusiveness might be filled with disdain and resentment, so after one particularly disappointing attempt to connect many years ago, I decided to give up trying.

You see, we share the same father, but different mothers. Jerry is 20 years older than I and the first born of our father’s children. I assumed that perhaps there was resentment for past dynamics,  of which I had no part since I wasn’t even born yet, but for which, nevertheless, I might be found to be a reminder of pains long ago afflicted.  I used to think that my mom had stolen her dad from her mom and that perhaps that was why she seemed so disinterested and contemptuous of me when I was younger.  Later I learned that there had been a marriage between our mom’s marriages to our father and that my mother was indeed innocent of home wrecking.  But, that just left me wondering what her friggin’ problem was …and to this day  I still don’t know.

Eventually, and to her credit, after I become a mother Jerry always remembered to honor me on Mother’s Day with a card and flowers…usually the only such acknowledgment I received from anyone in the family for having the only grand child on our side.

After we  lost both of our sets of respective parents, she would call -once or twice a year- to catch up and express her interest in my daughter- since she had no children of her own. I was always glad to here from her, but we never connected in any other way or at any other time.

Now, 20 years later, Jerry has cancer. She is dying fast from a spindle cell sarcoma- a rare and rapidly devouring type of cellular level killer that is also practically incurable. It seems that I am the only person in her life whom she feels can weather the storm ahead and who will not let her down- so we are finally bonding as caregiver and loved one cared for. I even noticed she lets me slide with calling her my sister when I talk with the hospice volunteers and the medical staff.

It’s funny how life works out.

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About Elder Care Advice blog

Get professional elder care giving advice, advocacy, education and tips for those who care for and about the frail elderly at the ElderCareAdvice blog. We are generously sponsored by CertifiedCare.org. Most posts are written by Cathleen V. Carr, unless attributed otherwise. We welcome relevant submissions. Submit your article and by-line for publishing consideration (no promises!) to Havi at zvardit@yahoo.com, our own editor who will ensure submissions are given the best possible treatment and polish before publication, ensuring a professional level of publication. There is a nominal service fee involved ($45). Allow up to 30 days for publishing.
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