Shakespeare & Company A Body of Water June-July 2024

Body, Mind & Spirit: The mysterious relationships of sisters


By Pat Larsen

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a female named Pat Larsen
Pat Larsen

Having contemplated the direction I would take with this topic for several days now, it finally came to me that I just needed to sit at my desk and begin by pouring my heart out.

I am a sister, a sibling to three other sisters, often hearing sentiments offered to my dad about the unfortunate circumstance of having four girls and no boys. Maybe that’s where the trepidation began for me. I was the oldest with 8 and 10 years between myself and the two youngest. Yes, the math then indicates that there was a great loss in our family when my sister,  at the delicate age of 34, lost her battle with cancer. Maybe that’s when the family dynamic split down its center.

Try as we may to keep the connections, things just kept getting more difficult as time passed. My parents moved away. My sisters followed suit and then, you already know this, things were just never the same. Physical proximity seems to matter. At least in our family’s case, it did indeed. 

This story isn’t about my story but the story of the relationships between sisters and how they evolve. Perhaps because of my story, I am keenly aware of those sisterly relationships around me and how they developed.

I find it very mysterious that for some, there is an incredible closeness that is so loving and kind and offers solace even if adversity crosses their path.

For others, especially after the final parent has passed, the relationship among sisters splits apart as though each were the suspected villain in a horror film. Some of these siblings run and hide. Others curl up and become victims to the overbearing sibling.

Each strength or weakness blossoms, leaving so very little room for the true meshing of love to exist or be defined.

But why? What tends to be missing? Where is the glue between the sisters that eventually erodes? That’s the mystery that I am trying to understand. 

Feelings get so stomped on and disregarded. Self-preservation and walls go  up, leaving little room to communicate adequately.

There is no compassion left to allow for each to be heard.

I’m truly stymied by all of this. I’ve chosen to write about this topic in the hopes of triggering perhaps just a conversation, if this is the collision course you’re headed toward.

The thought of anyone else going through what seems like a secondary loss after the final parent has gone, seems cruel. To me anyway. 

My fallback position has been my reliance on the four agreements, the principles and the tools that I live by to navigate this world. First and foremost, not taking anything personally, then followed by always doing my best.

Gratitude and  reflection of what “was” at its finest is next on my go-to considerations, and then simply forgiving and letting go.

The mysterious relationship of sisters is one that truly requires quite a bit of strength, fortitude, and self-love to understand. 

Perhaps the great mystery will be resolved one day by those much more savvy than I, but for now, I will re-read the Serenity Prayer and hope.

Pat Larsen lives in Greene County with her husband of 50 years. Her passions include bringing fitness to Baby Boomers and seniors weekly at The Shamrock House in East Durham. She is also a clinical hypnotherapist helping others with the process of aging and navigating an ever-changing world. As a syndicated columnist, she is able to get her message out to help others to navigate this life. Please contact Pat at 518-275-8686. 

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