Hand in Hand: A Letter to My Sisters


There’s so much I want to say, but I want to start by telling you how much I love being your sister. It has been such a blessing to watch you grow and discover this world, and see you develop your own unique but distinctive personalities. We don’t always see eye to eye, but you both mean the world to me. I’m the oldest of us three, that means I technically should be “wiser” but I know that that’s not always the case. For the better part of the last few years you two have been my rocks; you’ve never left me when things have gotten messy, you know how to flush my central line, you know what to do to avoid hurting me, you’re there for snuggles in my hospital bed, you know the names of my every condition, and you love me despite them. It seems like this lifetime has been filled with you taking care of me, and I’m sorry for that. I can’t tell you how many nights I spend worrying that you don’t see me as your older sister but as your sick sister and that terrifies me. It means that I’ve failed.

It’s written in the rules of every TV show, movie and book…the older sister is supposed to be the one to experience things first. I’m supposed to be telling you all the ways to avoid making the same mistakes I did, I’m supposed to share in the excitement of all of the “firsts” that you encounter and giving you advice on how to navigate them. We should be talking about crushes on boys, and drama between friends. I should be helping you grow into intelligent, caring, independent young women and instead I’m only watching you do those things. I’m watching you turn to others in the circumstances that you should be turning to me, but that’s not your fault…that’s mine. You are deserving of advice and counsel, of support and comfort and I’m sorry that I can’t be the one to do that. We’re at the point where you girls are starting to reach the milestones that I haven’t yet, the things that I’ve put on hold. You’re dealing with choosing careers and making post secondary education plans, you’re navigating through your first job, you’re entering high school and going to parties. It makes me so happy to see you both discovering the things and people who make you happy, the things that matter to you most but I desperately wish I could do more than just watch. I wish I could be holding your hand and walking through this with you, easing your fears with stories of my experiences, giving you tips to make things easier. Believe me, I want nothing more than to be able to do those things but sometimes my pain gets in the way.

Not only my physical pain, that’s not what I mean this time but my emotional pain, anguish, embarrassment. Sometimes the pain of not being able to do those things for you can hurt me more than any pain I’ve ever endured, and when I’m faced with that I turn away. There have been many, many, many nights that I’ve cried until there were no more tears to cry because of how I’ve failed you. I’m so sorry, I’m so, so sorry that you two have had to grow up without me. I’m sorry that I haven’t been the big sister I should be. I’m sorry that I’ve created this life for you, one where you’ve had to give up huge chunks of your life for me. I’m sorry for the countless holidays you’ve spend by my bedside in hospital, for all the happy birthday’s we’ve sang in a hospital room, for the time you’ve had to spend without mom or without dad so I could have them with me. I’m sorry that you’ve had to depend on each other, instead of me. I’m sorry that you’ve had to take care of me the way that I should be taking care of you. Sometimes that pain leaves me really angry and ashamed, and I’m sorry that you get the brunt of that. I just wish I could be better for you girls, because you deserve that–you don’t deserve this.

If my love alone could change the reality we’ve had to live, we would never be faced with the adversity that we have. I will spend every single day for the rest of my life working to be, and wishing I was the sister that you both deserve. I’ll never forgive myself for all the days that I wasn’t. As much as it pains me to watch, it fills me with so much pride to see you accomplish the things that I haven’t been able to. Please know that I am, and always will be your biggest fan. Even though I can’t offer you advice through these milestones know that I am always here to listen to and cheer you on through them. I’ll always be here to love you through them.

Lord knows that I always have something to say, or advice to offer about things (even when it’s not called for) but if there’s one thing that you listen to please let it be this: you both are powerful beyond measure, you have so much to give to this world and so much to discover and even though the world may not always be kind to you in return…you will always have a big sister that loves you more than you can imagine. Even in the moments that you doubt it, and all the times that I haven’t said it I do. I love every single part of you and characteristic you possess, even the quirks that drive me crazy. I may not always be present, but I will always be thinking of you and cheering you on. You both have given me the greatest gift I could ever recieve, and that’s being able to be your big sister. I’ve learned to love and forgive, to endure and perservere, to stand my ground and appreciate the little things. You’ve reminded me of what’s most important in this world and that’s the love and laughter that is within the walls of our home.

I am so grateful for your love that remains constant in my life that’s filled with so much uncertainty. I love you girls more than you will ever know.


Your big sister



One thought on “Hand in Hand: A Letter to My Sisters

  1. Deborah says:

    I can relate so well to what you have written here. I’m 36 and was diagnosed with CRPS as a 15 year old. I also have two younger sisters and understand how you feel because I’ve been there too.


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