In the spring, I went on a cruise with my two sisters. We were once five sisters, now we are three (our two brothers were not invited on this excursion). Joan is the oldest (by default) and so am I now the youngest. Our memories, for we talked endlessly of the past, are both sweet and sad. We had wanted to take this cruise ever since Patti’s diagnosis, but timing was always off, especially with Patricia’s treatments and checkups. It took four years since her death to coordinate it all – and my two sisters are retired! They’re busy women, busier than I.
As we moved about the ship, as we sat and talked, as we ventured out on excursions, I saw my future. Jean, the middle child, is hopelessly directionally challenged. She practically needed a string, attached to our cabin door, to find her way back…even after a week of going and coming. I mean, all of us McDonalds are directionally challenged, but Jean wins the prize, though it was not always thus.
Joan suffers a neuropathy that leaves her limbs feeling like lead weights by the end of the day, she could not walk too far, too fast and rested often – she used to walk three miles daily. It scared me a bit, to see my sisters in this gradual decline. Where will I be in five years…in nine?
We did have some lively discussions – with Jean leaning to the left, Joan to the right and me trying to balance things out in the middle. And we laughed and laughed and laughed – that was the best part, that we could be ourselves, express our views and still love and laugh.
Despite the failing limbs and bad memory, they are vital, active women and I hope to emulate them…in five and nine years? Jean’s a writer, she’s involved with a poetry group, a writers’ group, a book club and, every week she brings Communion to the sick in hospital.
Joan had just returned from the Holy Land, less than two weeks before she packed up to join us on the cruise. She had another bag packed in her car so that, when we disembarked from the ship, she was off to the airport to fly to her daughter’s for her grandson’s graduation from high school. She, when she’s home, is on the RCIA team and volunteers every Monday at the soup kitchen affiliated with her church. They live their lives and, most importantly, they live their faith in beautiful ways. Since I was a kid I have looked up to these two and, all these decades later, I still aspire to be like them. I am blessed to have these examples of strong lived faith in my life. The future looks good.