My Sister’s Gift
My sister and I grew up in the south. Upon graduation I once again settled in Big D. My sister, having a more adventuresome spirit, lived here and there before finally settling in Arizona. She seems to love it there and we don’t begrudge her the move. After all, our town has only malls and miles of concrete. Surely hers can do better.
When I returned home my parents were still spry and active. But as folks tend to do, they aged. Their senior years required various levels of assistance as things progressed. Being the in-town relative, those tasks fell to me. I don’t regret the experience – learned a whole lot in fact – but also recently realized what a gift my sister gave to me.
Recently my father-in-law fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road. No one was hurt except the car, which had an intimate encounter with a fire hydrant. Since then there has been a conference call among the siblings to discuss what to do about Dad and Mom. People deal with these sorts of issues in different ways.
My Dad’s car also had its own adventures. Dad lived in a retirement building that had parking in the basement. Let’s just say, as people age they often don’t park as well as they used to. One day the car next to Dad’s must have been feeling a bit huffy because it seemed to back out, hit Dad’s car, push it forward and at an angle that made it wedged in place.
Since my sister didn’t live here I tried to keep her apprised of various goings on of the folks. Emails would be sent about doctor’s visits, changing caregivers, and such. And when I felt things needed immediate comment I would call.
I phoned to let her know the status of the car. Here is where the gift comes in. I must admit my attitude was discouragement and anger, one more thing to do. But her response was laughter. She laughed and laughed and as I began to speculate how the car got in this position I began to laugh too. The car was still wedged, the issue still needed to be resolved, but my attitude had done a 180. Her laughter helped me see the facts were still the facts, but oh, what a funny story this really was. No one was hurt if you don’t include the car. The man that owned the vehicle took a few days to fess up to the event. That story brought more laughter.
Time and time again she helped me laugh as we dealt with the sorrow and loss of aging. The inevitable is, well inevitable. But if you can laugh along the way it helps lighten the load.