They’re crying. And laughing. And crying again.
I’m in the middle of a pack of sisters. Four generations of fiercely independent, strong, hilarious women. I suppose the textbook definition would say they’re grandmothers and moms and aunts and nieces, but we know better. They’re all sisters.
They’re here to share their grief at the passing of one of the tribe. There are long, unapologetic sobs while clinging to each other like life rafts in a sea of despair. But that’s the thing about sisters. When it’s too much for one, the others are there to embrace, to share stories, to prop each other up, to assure them it will be OK, even if they don’t believe it.
What is it about sisters? They have an intimacy brothers never knew existed (Yes, we are a flawed gender). They go out for lunch at the same place they frequented as girls. They fall into that easy banter of best friends. The newest member, just a few weeks old, is content to listen. She is wise. The stories are glorious.
Their time together culminates with their creation of a series of paintings. They pass them around, each making contributions to the others’. The fallen sister is honored. Fingers are white with gesso. Smiles abound. They shine through the endless tears.
And then, too soon, it’s time to go. There’s talk of closure, but they know there are some things that will never be closed. And that’s OK.
Still, there’s something comforting about the new sister coming aboard at this time. Stories end, stories begin, stories are passed through the generations.
They talk about their grandmothers and share stories that span the generations. Someday the new sister will hear the stories about the aunt she never had the chance to meet, but who will always watch over her. The circle continues.
More tears. More laughs. More hugs. So much love.
That’s what they do. They’re sisters.