Sisters don’t need words

A week ago, my sister had a heart attack.  A week ago, my world stopped.


Time stopped.

Breathing stopped.

Thinking about anything else but her… stopped.

In the scramble of moments that come after an incident like that, you can’t help but think differently.  What you’d do differently, what might still need to be said.

Thank God for technology:  my brother-in-law kept us updated, the best he could, with newsy-news from home, and updates on her condition (a good prognosis now, thank you!).  I texted back and forth with my niece, and she shared my quips with Sissy.

I’ve always had her in my life, you know.

The older, wiser sister coming in from a date, breathlessly telling her two little sisters about the fun times she’d had, all the while brushing her hair and looking like a Barbie doll.

The older, wiser sister, counseling me through college class choices, pestering me to keep my grades where they should be and not to spend so much time working, that work will come later.

The older, wiser sister sewing me skirts and dresses when that was the style and I didn’t have the money to afford such luxuries.

The older, wiser sister with the first grand-child, and choosing me, me(!!), to come on family trips as a “helper” –when in reality I adored his tow-headed self and he was and is my special favorite to this day.

We’ve been through so much — traditions and tears, laughter and fears, holidays and trips, weddings and funerals, milestones and challenges. At oldest boy’s wedding, a family friend commented that it was “so nice your sister could be here for you.”  My response, “My sister has ALWAYS been there for me.”  She beamed and then we both cried.  That’s just how we roll.

She’s home now and doing well, some changes to be made but determination has set in and we talked about this last night.  We laughed, we cried, and we made sure to choke out the words we both felt but had never said: “I can’t imagine a world without you in it.”

“Sisters don’t need words. They have perfected a language of snarls and smiles and frowns and winks — expressions of shocked surprise and incredulity and disbelief. Sniffs and snorts and gasps and sighs — that can undermine any tale you’re telling.” ~Pam Brown

me, my sister, and Charlie the dog. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

me, my sister, and Charlie the dog. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Categories: Faith, Family, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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35 thoughts on “Sisters don’t need words

  1. I’m so glad to hear that your sister’s home, and doing well. It must be a truly wonderful thing to have a sister. You just don’t know how we only children envy you!

    • You know what? It is truly wonderful to have a sister. I am lucky to have 2 and 2 brothers. We don’t all see eye-to-eye but there is a bond there that is undeniable. This sister and I are especially close and have been forever it seems. I am so glad I still have her! Thank you for your kind thoughts MJ

  2. Glad to hear the good outcome.

  3. So glad your sis is home and on the mend! Sending prayers for complete healing.

  4. Roxanne

    So glad she is recovering and going to be well. Best wishes to her, to you, your family!

  5. So lucky…both of you. I had two brothers but they were much older. My one brother was so much older that my niece is just a few years younger and she was like a sister to me. So glad that her health is doing well. These things are always a wake up call.

    • These events are certainly a wake-up call; I can tell you I have already been on the treadmill a couple of times 🙂 MJ

  6. Wrap this post up in a gift box to give your sister for the next special occasion – or maybe right now! It is a wonderful tribute to your very special relationship and if I were your sister I would cherish every word.

    • Hi Dor – I did, I sent it to her yesterday morning and she read it sipping tea after breakfast – and cried. We both reflected on the past week and shared our thanks for how things turned out. I give her a lot of credit – she’s a nurse and recognized the signs. At first, with neck and jaw pain, she thought she’d pulled a muscle and was annoyed. Then came the nausea and sweats and finally the crushing chest pain as she was getting ready to go – BAM – that was it and they raced to the hospital. Thank goodness she called ahead and the team was ready; the work they did at her little local hospital saved her life, no doubt. Thank you for your kind thoughts, MJ

  7. What a beautiful photo of both of you and Charlie. Technology is definitely a comfort when it gives you news in a timely fashion. Praying for her continued recovery.

    • I love that photo; we have others since then but Charlie is now gone and we both look so happy in that photo – and we were. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers, much appreciated, GS. MJ

  8. Though I didn’t think it was possible, I’ve become even closer with my sister in the last six months. An ailing grandmother with basically just the two of us to tend to her will do that I suppose. I certainly can’t imagine my life without her and she heard me say it a lot lately! 😉
    All my best to your beautiful sister…and you to MJ.

    • Yes, events like that either bring us together or push us apart and I’m glad you and your sister are even closer now AND that you appreciate it and say it 🙂 Good on you!! Thank you for your kind thoughts, MJ

  9. I am totally tracking you on this one MJ…we had something very similiar happen a month ago with my mom. thought we were going to loose her, (and it was an all of the sudden/ completely unexpected thing…she and I are close, can and have talked about just about everything you can imagine. I noticed yesterday @ our family gathering for Easter the atmosphere was completely least it was for me. found myself cherishing the moments. Glad to hear you had good news w/ your sister. sounds like you two have an awesome relationship. Glad for you. DM

    • Thank you, DM. I hope your Mom is doing well now. I agree in that events like this make you stop the race and look around and really enjoy the moment. I did that this Easter weekend as well. My sister is loads of fun, she’s my favorite travel partner and she’s kind and sincere. Pretty hard to beat that combination I say 🙂 Cheers! MJ

  10. Such a beautiful post, MJ. I’m so glad your sister is still here with you/for you, and hope for her continued good health!

    • Thank you, Dianna. I shared it with her and we both cried. These kinds of posts write themselves, as you know… ❤ MJ

  11. Wonderful story MJ.

  12. I’m glad she is ok!! It’s really beautiful how times like this bring us closer. Hugs!

    • Thank you, you and me both. She and I are quite a lot alike and, this past weekend, she had to sit back and let others do for her. It wasn’t easy. We’re not the best patients, we’re used to being “large and in charge.” It’s a learning experience for sure. She’s doing her best to take it slowly yet do all she needs to for full recovery. No major heart damage = yay! Kiss those babies for me, Tobi 🙂 MJ

  13. Deb

    Beautiful tribute MJ. I hope she has a chance to read it. We are all so very great full that she’s going to be ok.

    Love you, Deb

  14. I can’t imagine how lost I’d be without my sister. What an awful scare for all of you. I’m glad to hear she’s doing better and gets another chance at life! Think I’ll go call my sis now…

    • I hope you did, Terri 🙂 She called me last night, her voice sounding tiny and small, thanking me for the flowers I’d sent. The flowers were a bridge to a conversation she needed to have — a powerful woman feeling scared and daunted by all that’s transpired. We cried again. Yes we did. ❤ MJ

  15. So glad to hear she is doing well! What a gift to have a sister and relationship like this.

    • Physically yes although she gets tired really easily. Emotionally all over the place. To be expected when the Cardiac Surgeon tells you that most don’t survive the type of scenario she faced. She is a gift and I ❤ her very much. MJ

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  17. Sorry for the delay commenting on this (this is the problem when reading blogs on your iPad). Lovely post! I spend the weekend with my sister who now lives in Iowa. We’ve always been close and it’s hard having her and her kids far away. You are right that there’s something about sisters that’s magical. Thanks for sharing!

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