The first yellow daisies of the season are now in bloom up on Stone Mountain. One of the first sign that late summer has arrived, that the seasons are change, that maybe these hot days will come to an end in the not to distant future. The daisies are bright and sunny. But the sight of them stirs a deep sadness in me. Because, you see, daisies are my sister's favorite flower.
After two years of being estranged from my sister, I'm fairly used to not having her in my life anymore. But sometimes, unpredictably, I can still get overwhelmed with a sense of loss, and the tears can still flow. I've heard this is not uncommon.
My only sister is two years younger than me. We were always very close growing up. She was more outgoing and popular than me, and tended to get into more trouble. I always admired her, and in many ways wished I could be daring and beautiful and defiant like her. We'd hang out a lot, and we lived close by most of our lives. She was always there for me, and she was the one person that I felt like I could share absolutely anything with because we are so similar in many ways.
Two years ago my sister took her one-year-old daughter and left her husband, and sought help with a Women's Shelter. My parents helped her, and I flew out to offer my support too. But then she went back to her husband, and hasn't spoken to my parents since then, and refuses any contact with them. I hear from her once every month or two. Brief phone calls when she's out running errands. Updates about her kids: My niece loves swimming lessons. She is pregnant again and it's a boy (but don't tell our parents!). Then, how her son has a birthmark just like mine. Earlier this year, her husband said I could come and visit them, and meet my nephew for the first time and celebrate his first birthday with them, but then I got another phone call that he'd changed his mind.
I've been told that the loss experienced following estrangement is unique because there is always the hope that things will change, and that old wounds of the past will heal and there will be forgiveness. I don't know what life is like for my sister, but seeing these sunny daisies, I have so much hope for her and her family, that they are happy. Just as the seasons change, and the bouquets of flowers on mountaintops change, family dynamics change, and there is hope that things will change between us. But I am also sad that I cannot watch my niece and nephew growing up, and miss having a close relationship with my sister.