Here’s an answer as diplomatically as I can put it — all of my family has been such a huge part of my life. But, without doubt, the answer is my older sister, S.
As children, we bickered and argued, and disagreed on many things. I let that spill over into my twenties, but by the time S. turned 30, we had become friends. As I moved away, and came back to Maine, we’d have to catch up on some stuff, but that was always interesting — our lives were so different, despite having been raised by the same people, in the same or very similar circumstances.
My depression didn’t start getting the better of me until I was in my thirties, and from that point to this very day, S. has been a rock — no, a diamond — in my life. I don’t think either of us could count the number of times I wept on the phone, hoping for some kind of reassurance, and she always gave me what I needed, even if that included a semi-stern talking to. And this didn’t happen only when I was sad — she gave me the same powerful feedback when I was frustrated, even really angry with my situation.
After S. moved with her family to Key Largo, her home became a kind of once-a-year refuge. We would hang out with her friends, an amazing group of women who opened their circle and invited me in with no questions. We spent a lot of time in the water, just floating, (as you can only in salt water,) with my toes and my boobs and my nose the only parts of me above the surface. I always felt rejuvenated and able to get on with life, after I’d been to the Keys with S. And since she has moved, she brought that quality of her home with her, thank everything that is sacred!
I know of at least twice when my sister dropped everything and flew to Maine to be with me in the hospital and, on at least one occasion, she snapped me out of a very blue funk. I would guess that, by the time we were well into this decade, she thought that blue funk was all I had left. I certainly did.
And then these changes started. I remember the message that finally lifted me out of the depths: No one can hurt you unless you let them. This lesson was one S. had told me dozens of times, but as she says, “You don’t know until you know.” I am and always will be grateful that we have this chance to relate as two sister/friends, and enjoy each other’s celebrations, as well as sharing the more difficult parts of our lives.
So, S., you are the person who has made my life worth living for, baby, baby. I love you dearly, and I will always be grateful, and thank the Cosmos for allowing us to choose each other as sisters.