True Sisters

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Why is it so hard to let my sister go?

Claire recently came to visit me here in Maine with her husband for a few days. She lives in France where I am from and since she left Maine a few days ago, I feel like half my heart is missing. We are not twins but we might as well be. We always went to school together and spent much time together when we grew up even though I had 6 other siblings. We are heart sisters and that’s the way family should be. We still just want to spend as much time as possible together. It’s been one of my greatest crosses to bear to have to live 3000 miles away from Claire. There are no other people who quite understand me like she does. I miss the free spirit and fun she is. We are miles apart but so close in spirit even though spiritually we believe in different things.

She came to visit us in the US in 1983 when my twins were born and we faced major trauma as Isabelle (one of the twins) was born very small (1Lb, 11Oz) and with congenital Hydrocephalus. It was one the most difficult things we ever had to deal with as a family – she had 6 surgeries in 5 years. Even though my father died two weeks after our twins were born and never met them, Claire happened to be here visiting and we were able to travel together to France with our 2 week old twin Julia for the funeral. She has always been there for me.

I thank God for Skype because we can still “see” each other on the internet and as we age, we are not too surprised by the way we look when we meet again in person. I try to not spend more than 2 years without seeing my siblings. The youngest one is now 58 and the oldest 70. I do not have the energy I used to have as I now have some physical issues.

I long to meet more real people who are not afraid to tell it like it is. Every time I go back there, I love how frank and real people are. People here say to me why don’t you go back to France? My answer is I have 3 daughters and I couldn’t bear to live so far away from them. A mother carries her children in her heart forever!

After almost 30 years Claire hadn’t been to my house in the US since this last visit. I was a nervous wreck before she arrived. Would she like the US – she might not like anything here because it is so different from France! We actually had an exceptional time together…couldn’t have worked much better! They loved Maine and we had a great time together. Sometimes our worst fears are totally unfounded! My husband and her husband got along great and the 4 of us were a real good match. We even celebrated our twins 30th Birthday which was extra special. My husband and I have no extended family here to ever celebrate anything with, so it was a real treat for all of us here!

I love how faithful God is even when we have no faith. I was crying all day after we left them at the airport. Living without my family here has been a real challenge over the past 38 years we have been in the US. I know that all things work together for good for those who love God and I have seen it happen over and over again but what do you do when your heart is broken and you know there is no place to take the pain except to God. In these raw times I need someone with flesh on.

“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even though the sun set that day, it came back the next day and the day after that and I have been fine. The transition is always tough at first and then we get used to being separate.

I have sometimes thought that not seeing my family would be easier than seeing them because it is always so tough to leave them. As I become older, I know that every year is another opportunity to get to know them better. Family is precious! We tend to push people away and think that it will leave us unscathed…but that’s just an illusion!

Unforgiveness can be deadly. it is important to reconcile and just love on people specially those closest to us. The thing that will always remain is love…

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

 

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12 thoughts on “True Sisters

  1. This so beautiful, Jeanne. The more you write about your family, it’s like an amazing life portrait being painted right before our eyes!

    Your write with passion and you are a pearl … one who has been rubbed by the wrongs in this world and has become polished so that you shimmer and glow in contrast to the struggles.

    Each story is like another pearl, shimmering on a necklace you’re creating for us. I hope you share more stories, for in being authentic you are helping us to have the courage to be more open and real, too. We need a little of your France here! I’m glad to know you, Jeanne! Thank you for sharing your heart 🙂

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  2. Beautifully written, Jeanne. I agree with Susan’s comments of this story.
    My siblings live close to 1000 miles away and the older I get, the more I miss their company. Sharing your story has helped to comfort your heart, I would think, and bring encouragement to all who read it.

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  3. Jeanne, that was such a beautiful article about you and your sister. You wrote straight from the heart and my heart was touched. Praying for you as you adjust, but praise God for Skype.

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  4. Jeanne, my branch of our family has lived the past 5 generations in Brazil (now the 6th is there). But we’re Americans and never had any “extended family” such as aunts and uncles there. Expatriates. That means all our friends were internationalists, as are we. So, somewhere along the line, our intimate closeness shifted to friends … who also live all over. (Thank goodness today for Skype.) When I read about your relationship with your sister, while it’s unfamiliar to me, it is lovely. Something I never had. Distance does very strange things to relationships, as you probably know: challenges some areas and strengthens others …

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    • Sharon, thanks so much for your comment…yes distance does strange things to relationships. I have lived here in the US for the past 38 years and have lost all my french friends in the process…all gone. So that’s why it’s so important to keep in touch with my family. My sister is in Boston right now waiting for her flight back to Europe after spending the rest of her trip with her youngest daughter who has a job here in the US for 18 months. It’s supernatural how siblings can stay so connected…in spite of distance. I am so sorry you haven’t experienced that kind of closeness, it is really precious! I was estranged from my favorite brother for 5 about years and it absolutely crushed me. The power of forgiveness was the breakthrough we needed… now we are back to talking and sharing our lives together again. God is so faithful!

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  5. I recently visited my sisters and mom. Goodbyes are getting harder as we are getting older. We have had car accidents, illnesses and some major reality checks this year.
    As I sat on the plane to return home, my emotional landscape was turbulent. But its because we love deeply. Love makes us feel a loss when there are long absences.
    Reading your blog helped me translate what I am feeling with my sisters too.
    Thanks a bunch for writing. Julie

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  6. Julie, thanks so much for sharing from your heart. I so understand what you are saying! It’s not easy to have to be separated from loved ones. Yes we love deeply because we have shared so much growing up and need to keep at it as we grow older and further in distance sometimes. I was just thinking of my sister Claire as I was preparing dinner and how we just do things the same way and I so miss that. I haven’t really heard the sound of her voice since she left the US last week. She was here 6 days and with her daughter after that about the same time. We text message back and forth but it’s not the same. By the way I use WhatsApp on my smartphone for text messages all over the planet and it works great and is entirely free! Keep in touch and let me know how things go. Happy holidays to all

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