Big sister, little sister

Photo by Submitted - Barbara Ellis

For the better part of seven decades, I had a big sister and she meant the world to me.

Unfortunately, I lost her a couple of years ago, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. We were born two years and two days apart and had many things in common.

Our lives sometimes ran parallel to each other and sometimes swung widely apart, but throughout it all, we were unequivocally woven together.

It is no secret that I idolized her.

From the time I could walk, I followed her everywhere, you might say that I became her second shadow.
I know that there were times when she wished she was an only child, but for the most part, she put up with me. More than that, for the most part, she looked after me.

During our early years, our mother dressed us in identical dresses and outfits, so in a way she made me Eva’s mini-me. In fact, on one of my visits to Arizona where she lived, I bought us matching tops to wear when we went out.

I suppose it was silly, but I loved it when people wanted to know if we dressed the same because we were twins.

We lived through the tumultuous and terrifying war years in Hungary. When it was over and peace returned, our parents decided to escape our homeland in hopes of finding a better life.

It took many months before our little family found a new home in the far-off continent of Australia. Eva and I learned the language and fell in love with our new country and all the amenities Sydney offered.
During our school holidays, we spent every moment we could by the seashore swimming, body surfing and just having fun.

After seven years in that beautiful city, our parents once again packed us up and moved us to Lethbridge, Canada and another new way of life. Within the next few years, we both married. As it turned out, our young men were from Ireland.

The two of them grew up as friends in Belfast and immigrated to Canada a couple of years ahead of us.
Unexpectedly, our father decided to make one more move hundreds of miles away to Pennsylvania thus leaving Eva and me behind.

Then, more than ever, we became one another’s support. When my nieces were born, I shared her joy in becoming a mother and watched in admiration as she nurtured and cared for her babies.

She was a wonderful mother, as I knew she would be, and even though she was busy, she always made time for me, listening to my problems and giving me much-needed advice.

During the next decade, life separated us. She moved to the US and I moved to Calgary but the distance did not diminish our bond it became stronger.

We talked on the telephone for hours and tried to see one another at least every other year.

We even managed to make a trip back to Hungary and visited a few of the places where we lived as children and also got to know some of our relatives.

While I only had one “blood” sister, I have also been fortunate to have many wonderful chosen sisters.
As my niece calls them, “Sisters from other mothers”. I still keep in touch with a few of my friends in Sydney. Neither time nor distance has diminished these friendships made over 60 years ago.

With the advent of e-mail and things like Skype, we can keep in touch and watch our hair turn grey and our waistlines expand.

It certainly is not as wonderful as being able to be with them and hug them, but it is still a loving way to spend time together.

I also made sister friends when I moved to Calgary.

First at work and then through other associations. Now that Eva is gone, one of my friends has become a sort of surrogate sister. I confide in her and often seek her advice and she has never let me down.
Recently my grand-nephew and his wife welcomed a second baby girl into their lives. Their four-year-old daughter Emilia could hardly wait for the arrival of her little sister, Sophia Mae.

I have already received several photos of Emilia holding the baby and showering her with the love that only a big sister can give.

I can already see them in the future, tiny little feet following wherever her big sister leads.
When I turn on my computer, several photos stream across the screen.

Some are of places I have visited and some of friends and family, but the one I love most of all is the one of Eva and me. She is looking right at the camera, has a lovely smile on her face and her arm is around my shoulder.

When this photo pops onto the screen, she is looking right at me. It always makes me smile and I always say, “Hello beautiful. I miss you so, my big sister”.