While at a Hallmark store this afternoon, I saw yet another trinket that had a special quote about sisters. Everytime I see an item with one of these sayings on it, I smile and think “I’m so glad my girls will be trading these kinds of things someday.”

This time, however, I thought “I wish I had a sister to trade those things with.”

My mom got special “sister” things from her sisters off and on over the years, especially during the last two years of her life. In going through her stuff, I’ve found quite a few of them. It’s bitter sweet to say the least.

I was my mother’s only child. When I was 5, my mom married her 4th (my biological father was her 1st) husband. He had 3 children…two girls and a boy…all older than I. D was 6 years older, K was 3 years older and J was 8 months older. They did not like me. It was brutal for many years. When we were 11, J moved in with my mom, her husband(who had by this time adopted me although no one in the family thought that mattered…I was still the step child) and I. I was thrilled to have a ‘brother’. His sisters were not too thrilled to share him. We were not close. Ever.

I dreamed they were my “real” sisters but that never happened. When my step-sister, K, was diagnosed with cancer we were just really getting to know one another as adults. She was trying. I was trying. I saw her last on my 29th birthday. She died on my daughter’s 8th birthday. It was awful.

My step-sister, D, saw me in a shopping mall one time and it took her several minutes to realize who I was when I walked up to her and said hi. When my ‘brother’, J, died on Feb 27, 2001, he was still angry with me for “abandoning” my parents (long story). He didn’t claim me as his sister anymore.

D and I are the only ones left however it’s really just me. I haven’t seen or heard from D since my mother’s funeral. I won’t either. She took what she wanted from my parent’s house and disappeared into her own weird world. It was exactly what I expected. Truthfully, it was a relief for me because she is just creepy, scary, weird. I mean that in the give you chills up your spine kind of way.

So, basically, my family of origin is gone. Completely. Totally. Gone.

And today I wished for sisters. Real. Sisters. Someone who shares the same memories as me (well, not really the same memories, that would be terrible for someone else but you know what I mean), someone who knows me and loves me anyway, someone I could trade silly sister things with and know they would treasure them.

I’ve learned alot about grief during the past couple years. More than I ever wanted to know. I guess I never realized it was possible to grieve for something I’d never had.



10 responses to this post.

  1. Hi, Traci! I, too, am learning that people DO grieve over things they never had. AND those things that are lost.

    I felt funny reading this, because I do have a sister. We were very close until I started being honest. She doesn’t shun me, but we’re not as close anymore. Everything is different now. My sister is a nice person, she’s only two years younger than I, she lives in the same neighborhood with me and she has a husband and three little girls — just like me. Only she’s not just like me. I am the designated crazy person in our family of origin — the one who won’t shut up about the abuse, the one who can’t seem to “put it behind her”, the one with the SYMPTOMS. I make my family uncomfortable because I am the proof that things were not as they tried to make them appear — and they can’t stand it. I grieve the parents I never had and the sister relationship that I feel is lost; changed somehow. I have very few IRL people aside from my husband and kids.


  2. I have never been one to adhere to the idea that family is only those who are related to us by blood. We put up with hideous treatment from “family” because of that relationship that we’d never tolerate from anyone else. We expect them to feel the same bond that we feel, even though they often don’t. It’s up to us to carefully choose the people we need to fill certain voids in our lives, and sisters don’t need to be related by blood. Only by spirit.


  3. While my sister and I have our “sisterly” moments, our age difference of 6.5 years has kept us in separate places in our lives that didn’t provide much connection between us over the years. And it may sound odd, but I have often grieved over the fact that she and I have never been closer. I love her dearly, but we don’t really have the shared sister experiences talked about by many and the relationships that are sold in cards and trinkets in the Hallmark store (and others). My dearest sisters have truly been my close friends more so than my blood relatives but it truly does make sense to wish for something more than you’ve ever had. I totally understand.


  4. I am lucky. I have sister who I get to share all those sister things with. She is also the subject of my latest bead-embroidered piece:)


  5. Three much older brothers for me. No sisters. Except a few friends who have come to symbolize and be sisters to me, at least as much as someone who’s never had a sister can experience such a thing.

    I totally get you on this. Although you have experienced so much more pain and loss, it makes the sister-loss just that much more poignant, I’d imagine. I’m happy you at least have sisters for your girlies! That’s one sadness I have — my sweet girl hasn’t any sisters. But: I’m unwilling to have more babies to provide her with one, so she’s outta luck.


  6. Ah, Traci, this is a hard one. I do have that sister, and we are close. But we have traveled a rocky road. We are 12.5 years apart, and there have been times that we have been distant because I resented, as a teenager, she still thought she could “mother” me. But there is no question we love each other and would go to extremes to protect the other. I’m sorry you don’t have the sister you long for, but girlk you’ve got lots of friends who care about you. Hang in there. This time of year is rough. Peace to you.


  7. a sister is someone who loves you unconditionally, and someone who understands you. or at least stands by you even if she can’t understand everything. so, in that sense, you have one right here. you are appreciated, and loved, traci. i am here.


  8. I never had a sister…just me and my brother. I mourn the loss of something I never had. I, like other commenters, have a couple friends that are like sisters to me. I have been very lucky in that I have gotten close to my brother’s wife. She has become the sister I never had, and I hope that I have become the sister she SHOULD have had; her “real” sister treats her very badly, when she bothers to acknowledge her presence at all.

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday.



  9. Five brothers, no sisters. I always wanted one. I have online sisters now, and IRL sister-friends. I believe grief over something that we longed for but never had can be greater than grief over some real thing, some good thing, that is lost.

    Peace to you, Traci. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and all good things in the New Year.


  10. Just stopping by to say “Merry Christmas” Traci-girl!! Enjoy your day, your girls, and the life you’re creating for yourself. It’s all good.


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