Thursday, September 24, 2015

A morning with my other sisters

Let me start by saying that I have two perfectly marvellous, fun, and brilliant sisters (that I love deeply)  from the same mother. And then let me tell you about how I rediscovered two of my "other sisters."

Recently I decided to look up my very first best friend from when I was 7-9 years old. I'd tried to look her up online previously, and though I found her on a travel website, I was unable to jump through all the right internet hoops to be able to contact her at that time.

So it was exciting to find her again, this time on Facebook. I sent a message to be sure I had the right person, and a few weeks later, received a message back. She was the right person, indeed, and we actually lived in the same city (I always thought she lived one province over)! So we chatted a little bit via the internet, and I promised her that when my second batch of strawberries were ripe, I'd invite her and her grandson over to help me eat them.

My friend and her little guy came to visit on September 4th, and to be honest, it seemed a little awkward at first. So much water had flowed downriver since we were kids. We had missed so much of each other's lives. As she came up the sidewalk, I was looking hard for some hint of the girl I once knew. Her face vaguely reminded me of my childhood friend... but it took until she laughed before I knew her once again -- her laugh was like hearing a song that I loved but had nearly forgotten! We hugged each other tightly, and both our eyes filled with tears.

Today, I hugged her older sister, and it happened again. These two women meant so much to me as a kid that it nearly broke my heart when our family moved away from them. Today I called them my "other sisters" because my morning with them was sort of like coming home. Rediscovering them has been something of a miracle in my life, and it's such a joy knowing that they're both doing as well as can be in spite of the heartaches and struggles that came with their lives.

Playing with these two friends as a child, I just played. I didn't think to ask personal questions because knowing the details of each others' lives wasn't as important as rowing our imaginary canoe down the river; building snow tunnels through the lilac bushes after the blizzard; seeing how deep we could wade into the flooded area at the park before our rubber boots filled with water; or making a perfect, smooth, crab racetrack by sliding our bums across the sandbox.

It's only now that I finally know that these other sisters originally came from Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan, but were taken from their family of origin at ages 3 and 4 (during the so-called '60's Scoop) and placed in a foster home -- until they reached the age of 18 and were told they were on their own.

Life has not been easy for them, but they have managed to reconnect with their biological family and build strong relationships. It's such a relief to know that they have come through many hard times and will continue to thrive because of their love for each other. They are amazing women, definitely part of my Amazing Club.

This morning, my eyes filled again as my rediscovered sisters invited me to smudge with them. I closed my eyes and prayed, "Thank you, Creator, for bringing us back together. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Afterward, we sat and chatted for a long while, reminiscing, jogging each others' memories and laughing about things that happened in our almost forgotten shared past, trying to remember names and places, catching up on bits and pieces of each other's lives in the years since, and losing track of time.

It was holy ground.

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