Sometimes I cannot believe how much my life has changed. Since when? Since my sister died? Not just that but yes, I guess that was the biggest turning point in my life so far. There have been a few. Mum dying was pretty enormous. I won't bore you with more details but it was emotionally life-changing and monumentally a huge shift in dynamics. I was able to be me, at last. Well almost. I never thought that my sister would trump my mother. I am not trying to be flippant (cross my heart) but there is no other way of saying it. My sister has blown my mothers departure out of the water and left me with a mind-blowing yet so obvious way forward. Sound complicated? I hope so. I would hate to fail them both.
Here I am, having been out for a birthday drink with my running friend. I left my three children at home. Nothing unusual there except a fortnight ago, I didn't have three, I had two. We are now a family of four and nothing or nobody can change that. He is simply delicious. I am so proud of my girls for being so naturally accepting and warm. They have shown me that (so far) I have done the right thing by them and given them not only a voice but a choice and both decided quite naturally that my nephew should (without hesitation) join us. Phew. In my gut, I knew that from the moment I heard it was fatal. I can still hear the machines as I close my eyes at night and the thought of my little sister lying unaware is awful. But unaware she was. Never woke up. Somehow and somewhere, she is now able to watch over me. I am completely certain of that. I knew her boy before I had even met him. Thanks to how much I loved her. I hope she knew that. He does. He is fast asleep upstairs surrounded by love and with a family who instinctively and naturally adore him. Lucky thing.
What is it all about? Is it as simple as your time is up when it's up? Absurd risks and bucket lists that we all make but maybe there is always a time limit? I am dead certain that I will be 96. I have said that for years. I might be wrong (unlikely) but if I am, my girls will know what to do. It's in the gut. No complications and no fuss. Simple and straight-forward. Just do it. I made the decision to take on my nephew without even knowing that I was making a decision. That is exactly how it works, how it should be. We all get chances. We have to make decisions. We have opportunities and we can walk by or take a few chances. At some stage not so long ago, I realised that my life was more valuable because of the lives I am responsible for. More so now than ever. So I won't be doing any free-falling or bungy jumping. I won't be climbing Everest or Kilimanjaro and I won't be entering the NY Marathon until all three of my children are old enough to join me. I will, however, be counting my lucky stars that I have been given three children to love. I am fully capable of running on English soil and my bucket list can still remain but might have to be extended for a decade or two. My life has changed unrecognisably in the last few weeks but I am capable of turning this unexpectedly shitty situation into an opportunity for love, connection and peace. It really is that obvious to me.
Oh and if you were ever in any doubt, don't question my loyalty. I am stupidly protective. I am, and always will be, the big sister.