From Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul


People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anybody.

Audrey Hepburn

Over the years we have discovered that being sisters and being close does not necessarily mean we agree on everything. Growing up, we differed on many things, but today we agree on what is really important, being sisters.

You can eat off her floors. You can’t even eat off my table because it is covered with books—overdue and otherwise unpaid bills, scraps of paper with telephone numbers. Clothes in her closet hang neatly by function and by color. I have trouble finding a clothes hanger. Her hair always looks as though she just stepped out of a beauty salon and she did it herself. Mine is grateful for a comb in the morning. Her immaculate, pressed clothes fit perfectly and look Saks Fifth Avenue. Mine look blow-dried and usually resemble gently used off the rack. She was always beautiful and I was always plain.

Two events made us realize the importance of being sisters—our mother’s death and her terrible lung cancer. After mother’s funeral, hurtful words were spoken by both of us over matters that seem now immaterial. It went like this.

“It’s mine!”

“No, she would have wanted me to have it! It’s mine.”

Months of silence went by while we both cried by ourselves. She made the first tentative offer of reconciliation, which I joyfully accepted.

Then she went into the hospital to have a cyst on her leg removed. We silently worried that it might be cancer. It was benign. However, a routine chest x-ray showed one lung full of cancer tumors. The diseased lung was removed but the horrible malady struck the other lung.

Chemotherapy is holding the disease at bay and we have come to realize our time together here is fleeting and precious. That is not to say we always agree. We don’t. Only now it goes like this.

“You take it! It’s yours.”

“No, you take it! It’s yours.”

Jane Eppinga

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