A punch in the gut

A little while ago I wrote about my half sister and how her losing her partner made me realise I feel for her as a human being and not as family.

Well, the 25th July saw the 20 year anniversary of our dads passing and her 28th birthday. I had just done some shopping and had loaded everything into the car when, as I started the engine, I glanced up and there she was. She had just got out of her uncle’s car, her youngest in a pushchair and her eldest by her side. Off went the engine, I stood up with one foot out of the car and found myself calling her name across the car park. Honestly, in that moment, I think it was more of a defence tactic – a case of avoiding the backlash if she had in fact seen me and I chose to drive off! Sounds horrible but, due to lots of experience in her pettiness, I have learned to pacify her where possible!

Anyway, she looked up and there it was, that look like her whole world had fallen apart in that instant. That look you get when something hits you like a punch in the gut. The tears were there, she held them back and began to walk towards me, kids in tow. I got out of the car, slowly feeling something but it didn’t click what just yet. We came face to face, I’m not even sure how long it had been – put it this way I’d never met her youngest who wasn’t far off of 2. I asked her how she was and I watched as she tried to speak while stopping herself from breaking, then the two words she mustered “I’m trying” came out and it was my turn for the punch in the gut. I put my arms around her and she broke. My big sister instincts kicked in and I realised what I was feeling. My baby sister was broken and it hurt like hell. We stood there and, for the first time in a very long time, her pain was my pain and I would’ve done anything to stop her from hurting.

I guess, when all is said and done, we are sisters and (in some circumstances) – no matter how distant we are normally or how brief the moment is – that trumps everything.

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