A lot of my closest friends have gotten engaged or married this summer, and every one of them had or will have their sister standing beside them as they take their vows. I’ve got to admit, it makes me a little sad if I dwell on it because it reminds me of a little hole I carry around. One day I’ll get married, and my elder sister won’t be there beside me after I walk down the aisle because she passed away unexpectedly when I was a freshman in college. The last thing she told me was that she was proud of me, but I didn’t know she was saying goodbye.
It took years to find a semblance of peace after her death rocked my family. But with my sister leaving this world a little earlier than expected, I’ve had the privilege of creating my own patchwork sisterhoods. Right after Alicia passed away, I went back to college carrying so much more baggage than just my suitcases. I became an RA then, arguably during my least emotionally available period of young adulthood so far. But my fellow RAs, especially my friend Emma and our leader Felicia, embraced the mess and became like my sisters. They sat with me on Felicia’s couch and cried with me as I finally started dealing with the pain I’d bottled up after my sister died.
And I keep making more tiny sisterhoods. Finding those women who validate me but also pull me up by my bootstraps. Ladies like Emma and my dear friends Katie and Caroline and Britt and others who have lived with me in the last few years. Friends who understand my brain and my mental illnesses. Ladies who have been my friends for years who had become like sisters when I didn’t realize it. Older friends who give me life advice when things start going to ashes. Women who tell me they’re proud of me.
Yesterday, I posted the picture above after my best friend Lindsey chose her wedding dress (!!!). And her sister commented, “If I can’t be there I am glad her other, other sister is! Thanks so much Annette for being amazing!” Gosh, it made me cry. Thank you to all of my sisters out there. I lost my biological sister, but I didn’t lose y’all. This post is a love letter to all of the women who have embraced me and been my sisters when I thought that wasn’t possible anymore.