A Little Bit Like Dying

We'd been planning it since the summer when she moved 2,000+ miles away from me. She wanted to be here to help me after birthing the twins. It was to be a long, beautiful week of catching up, talking, laughing.

My sister, my best friend, my only sibling. I couldn't wait to see her.

And then one of her girls got sick. She flew out anyway. And then the other daughter got sick. And then my sister got sick.

Because of the twins' prematurity and vulnerability, my sister couldn't be around us. She spent the week in bed at my mom's.

It's hard to describe the bitter taste of disappointment today. We got one day together. Just one day. Just enough to make me remember how much I love being around her, someone who just "gets me" and knows when to laugh, when to cry, when to empathize, who knows your faults and weaknesses and yet, still loves you completely. Someone who has been a witness to my life and I to hers. This is my sister.

And again, she's gone. She walked out into the rainy evening, tears rolling down her cheeks. I was fighting back my own.

Because the truth is, you can make lots of new friends but nobody, nobody knows you like your sister. And when you're recovering from a C-section and trying to adjust to twin infants, and feeling guilty for not being able to do it all---your sister just starts folding laundry and doesn't mind if you admit to feeling like a failure.

So tonight, as the rain falls outside, the tears fall down my cheeks because sometimes, sometimes I don't know if I can do it without her. She's always been there for me and 2,000 miles really screws that up. It's just not the same. Neurosurgery residency is seven long years. We're not even through the first.

Tonight I know that no matter how big your house is, or how many friends you have, or how successful you are, without family it's completely worthless.

Every time she leaves, will it always feel a little bit like dying?