Interestingly enough, I had this title saved as a post back on December 9th but never wrote a word. It was the day after my birthday and the final full day of December training camp. I was heading out the next day to spend several days with my sister. Obviously, I never got around to writing that post.
Growing up, I wouldn't call my sister, Abby, and I close. There are six years between us and at that point, those six years felt like decades. As the baby of the family, I simply saw her as a second mother. She was responsible, organized and always followed the rules. I've always tended towards a more boyish energy, chaos, rough and tumble, and enamored by my older brothers.
When I was around four years old, Abby, my brother Will, and I were in our beach house grabbing a box of crayons. My parents recently purchased a new washer and dryer, and we were allowed to make forts and color them. I don't remember the sound or the feeling when the lightning bolt struck the house. What I do remember is all the appliances going on-blenders, mixers, etc-and electric sockets shooting across the wall and smashing through the drywall on the other side. It was absolute chaos and we didn't even know that a fire started up above our heads.
What I do remember is Abby, who was around 10 years old, making my brother and I walk single file down the multiple flights of stairs. She took up the rear with no fear. In my mind, she was in complete control of the situation. Maybe she totally was; I've never asked.
The rest of my childhood and teenage age years floated by without us ever being close. We were so different that there were rarely any battles over makeup, the TV or clothes and our schedules were off enough that I don't remember fighting over the bathroom despite the fact we shared one.
Without a doubt, my dad's death is what brought us together. My dad was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in Spring 2005. He had no symptoms and was diagnosed after a routine colonoscopy. It was Stage IV, and he was given three months to live. He ended up living for 10 months, and during that time, the family rallied around him and each other. Regardless of distance or careers, we all came home frequently.
It was then that I remember noticing for the first time how much my sister and I saw ourselves as daddy's girls. He absolutely adored and cherished us, and we found a mutual bond in that. Through that period and beyond, we supported and comforted one another. I'm not sure if I would have made it through with as much grace and definitely wouldn't be as well adjusted without her. Maybe she feels the same; I've never asked.
This Wednesday, March 8th, serves as the 11th year anniversary since my dad died. Abby is here in Belgium with me and we get to toast his life and being his daughters together. I've never stopped missing him, and one thing I am absolutely positive about is that he would be so proud of the relationship my sister and I have cultivated and encouraged to prosper over the past decade+.