Monday, January 11, 2010

Brother and Sisters (From Shaddy's prompt)

I am the oldest of four children born in my family, each three years apart. My first sister died when she was three, of complications from kidney disease and pneumonia. She was a very sweet girl with sunshine in her smile. I remember Dad taking me to my first grade classroom several days later to tell my teacher why I hadn’t been there.

My second sister was born shortly thereafter. Her name was Robin, and it suited her because she was a picky eater, and “ate like a bird”. I have a vision of her at the dinner table long after everyone else had been dismissed, sitting there staring at the green beans on her plate that she had to finish before she could get down. She was six years younger than me, and as I remember, we always fought. It wasn’t until I left for college that we became close friends.

During her first year of college she became ill with an infection that localized in her kidneys, putting her into kidney failure, and requiring her to be on dialysis. A number of years later, we tested to see if I was a transplant match. I was, so that fall she received one of my kidneys. It is the one accomplishment of my life that I am the most proud of. The new kidney allowed her to be free of dialysis. Off and on, her body tried to reject the kidney, but she fought valiantly to retain it. One year to the date of the transplant, she had a massive stroke and died. I still admire her courage and miss her greatly. There is much more to tell of Robin’s journey, but it deserves its own story.

My brother came along nine years after me. Dad finally got a son to play ball with! What a great kid. He was always happy. My sister and I used to dress him up like a doll. We would put mom’s jewelry on him and he would walk around the house in earrings and necklaces, happy to be a part of the fun. He is now an Optometrist, with a beautiful wife and three kids. We are very close and talk weekly.

In Ann’s Beginning Writers Workshop, we were asked to write about things we remember and things we didn’t remember. I wrote that I didn’t remember a lot about my childhood years. It sparked me to call two of my childhood friends from the old neighborhood. We had maintained a “Christmas card” relationship of late. They came to lunch one day before Christmas, and we had a wonderful afternoon, talking about “remember when”. Those memories were there, they just needed prompting.

Copyright Parrot-Writes 2010


  1. How sad for you to lose two sisters. I find it difficult to write about my youth. Was it difficult for you to write about your sisters?

    There is a great number of small things in my past that are funny. Those are the things I try to focus on when searching my memory for something to write about.

  2. Wow! It is a true statement that everyone has a story. I can understand why you wouldn't recall some of your childhood memories. Maybe it is the minds way of healing...You have many accomplishments, friend...writing being one of your best. Being a wonderful sister definately the greatest. xoxo paula

  3. What writing this has made me realize is that I need to tell my sister's courageous story. It has been 22 years since her death, and I still think of her often. She had a husband, also on dialysis, who died a year later, and a 3 year old adopted son, who became part of my brothers family.

  4. I'm glad you decided to write about your sister. It must feel comforting to have her watching over you in death as you watched over her in life.
    The story of my family and siblings is so strange I couldn't bring myself to attempt Shaddy's writing prompt. Although, I am thankful they are all still living.

  5. My memories of Robin are so bitter sweet. She was such a gentle loving soul. Never quick to judge and always appreciative for the good things in live. She experienced too many of the bad things in a life cut too short. When I think of her I still turn into a blubbering puddle. I know her passing left a hole in mom and dad’s hearts that never healed. I still have a hole. Bro.

  6. I hope you will help Robin live on by telling her story.

    I too think I remember very little of my childhood and then something will spark a memory for me. For a number of reasons, though, I don't want to write that much about my childhood, but it is interesting to me how different it looks when viewed through the lens of adulthood.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Thank you all for your wonderful comments and encouragement. I have finally come to a place in my life that I can write about my sister and her courageous battle. Thank you to Shaddy for her prompt.

  8. I'm glad my prompt motivated you to look back and share what you found with us.

  9. Your story tugged at my heart strings. I admire your courage in recalling these memories. I hope you do write Robin's story. You will tell it beautifully.