She’s My Sister

I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy for pretty much all 15 seasons. I wouldn’t say that I’ve seen every episode, but I’ve seen the overwhelming vast majority of them. So, it was nothing new to me to tune into Thursday’s premier or to have feelings about the storyline. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to unload a spoiler-filled recap. This isn’t that kind of party. The part that stuck with me the most seemed rather innocuous (which is probably a good indication that we’ll see its threads picked up again before the season ends….because that’s how it is over there).

In the first of the two hour premier, several of the patients went out of their way to point out to Maggie that Amelia isn’t her sister. While this may technically be true, it’s obvious the lack of biology doesn’t matter much to them. They are sisters. Full stop. Period. End of story. You don’t even have to be someone who religiously watches the show to see that relationship between them. It’s evident in the overall tone of their interactions. Yes, they are colleagues. Of course, they are friends. But, they are also sisters. And, it is that foundation that is the undercurrent of everything else.

So, why would this bother me so? Simple. Because, most of my sisters aren’t “real” (by real, I mean biological).

I have two biological (half) sisters. After my parents’ divorce when I was 16 months old and my mom was pregnant with my younger brother, my father remarried and had three kids – a boy and two girls. I didn’t meet any of them until I was about 15 (my father included). If there is blame to share for why that was our reality, none of it should lay at the feet of me or my siblings. Over the past 21 years, I’ve gotten to know my brother really well. But, my sisters are another story. In the past 10 years, I’ve probably only spoken to them five times. That’s on us and it is what it is.

I grew up in a home with my mom and her sister. They both helped raise one of my cousin’s two girls. They were raised as my sisters and woe to you if you call them anything else. I am the carrier of Big Sister Magic, and the one who is their constant cheerleader and devoted friend. For as long as they’ve been alive, I’ve helped chase  away their fears and screamed at the monsters in the dark. And, if you made them cry….you should probably just leave town. Like really.

They are my sisters. Full stop. Period. End of story.

Then, I went to college. And, I made a new friend. A best friend. Joanna. And, she became my roommate. And, two years later, Danyelle moved in. And, we went through everything together. The Trifecta was born. When my son and my mom went through cancer at the same time 650 miles apart, they were both there as often and as much as they could be. When my mom didn’t make it, they were everything I needed. When Danyelle got cancer, we were still a three. Sisters. Whenever. Wherever. Forever. A three. Danyelle got better and our adventures continued.

Then, Joanna got cancer. And, still, we did everything together. Together at the beginning and the end. And, even now, even in death, we are still a three. And, they both are still my sisters.

Joanna and I on her birthday in 2010

I still have trouble talking about it. It’s still hard for me to think of her without crumbling. But, 669 days is a long time to be without one’s sister. And, I know that my two biological sisters are alive and well and doing amazing things. And, I do love them and I am proud of them. But, I have other sisters, too. Sisters who know when to call by the tone of a text. Sisters who know how to make me laugh til I cry. Sisters who will defend my kids to the end of the earth. And, even a sister who left me a new sister when cancer stole her life from this world.

Because, the sister of my sister is my sister.

The point is, real is what you make it. Biology is great and not to be discounted. But, it isn’t everything. And, if you have a sib from another crib who doesn’t share DNA with you, that doesn’t invalidate anything. Found family is still family.

And, they are all my sisters.

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