I am sitting in my sister's house. We came down here to Fort Myers, FL for Thanksgiving, as we did last year, only this year I stayed on for a couple of weeks to have some extra biking time in the warmth. For the past week, I've been here on my own, as my sister and brother-in-law travelled to Chicago. So I've been here by myself, eating at my sister's table, watching her tv, doing laundry in her washing machine, driving in my brother-in-law's car, and generally making myself at home in her world.
This may not seem like such a big deal. Siblings visit each other all the time, and even borrow each other's dwellings. But when I think how my sister and I were lost to each other for 35 years (for the whole story, see The Story of Princess S), my sitting here in her house is nothing short of miraculous.
Though we have been back in each other's lives for almost three years now, and though I have felt lots of feelings about all aspects of our shared and unshared histories, evidently I can still be sandbagged by anger and grief. Last week, before she left on her trip, my sister and I spent a day hanging out together, talking about everything in our lives, and as it almost inevitably does, at one point the conversation turned to the past. I heard again from her how she had been told that I was the one who chose not to have anything to do with my family, not once, but twice, when in fact I had been twice disowned. We shook our heads sadly together at all the wasted time, and I thought that was it. But I spent the first two days of my solitary sojourn in a fog of depression and emotional eating. It was only on the third morning, as I rode my bike on the beautiful, exotic John Yarbrough Linear Park trail , that I realized that I had been ambushed by grief for all the time we lost and anger at our father and stepmother for their selfish, hurtful actions.
When we talk about the past, my sister often tells me how grateful she is that our reunion has given her back some positive memories of our mother. She's three years younger than I and managed to keep less of the good parts even than I did, in my total blocking out of my past. But since we've reconnected and shared our memories, she's been able to connect also with our mother in some very healing and beautiful ways. She told me that as she finally came to feel some peace with those memories, she started seeing dragonflies everywhere, and the dragonflies reminded her of the sparkly rhinestone jewelry that she loved to look through in our mother's jewelry box. She added that seeing dragonflies now makes her feel at peace and loved.
As I rode along the bike trail in the sunshine and realized that I'd been grieving for my mommy and grieving for the years I did not have my sister in my life, I looked up and there was a beautiful, iridescent green dragonfly above my left shoulder, moving along with me.
I burst into tears.
And so I sit here in my sister's house, or drive around in my brother-in-law's car, feeling at peace, and loved, and very grateful that I have my sister and brother-in-law in my life now. And that beautiful dragonfly is dancing in the sunlight.
A hui hou.