Grace is a super-hero. She saves lives. No, she really does. She works in 911 dispatch. She’s a supervisor and in her time working there she has coached people through many emergency situations, including women who have gone into labor. She could tell you more accurately what she’s gone through on a daily basis, but some of it she isn’t able to because of confidentiality and some things, well… people die while she’s on the job, too, that’s not the cheeriest of subjects.
[My immediate family consists of Mom, Dad, older sister (Grace), younger brother (Louis) and middle child (that’s me, Peg). Grace is two years older than me, while Louis is two years younger.]
Grace is extremely resilient and an awe-inspiringly capable person. Her job involves incredible amounts of focus, quick-thinking and a cool head. She has all this going for her and it really impresses me.
We’ve gone through phases of closeness and separation as sisters. When we were little we were very close and played together all the time. We were the well-behaved girls while my brother was the one getting into trouble. We had separate circles of friends growing up but we had each other’s backs. Still, we had divergent personalities. We do even now, really. I have always been more abstract and less practical than Grace. This helps my creativity but leaves me lacking in functionality.
That’s the thing: Grace is high-functioning, but I’m certain she has her own mental illness that she deals with on a daily basis. At times this has been hard for me to sympathize with, as she used to make me feel like I was weak for needing help, and especially for taking medication. She has a way of plowing through life that I have never managed, but she used to make me feel like there was something wrong with not being able to cope the way she did.
I don’t get that sense from her anymore. I believe she has grown more accepting of our differences. It’s hard to know for sure, though, as most of her feelings she keeps very guarded. We were close as children, distant as teens and now as adults we have bridged the gap with a lukewarm friendship. I think we both wish it were better than it is, which is promising, but then again our lives and personalities are still vastly different.
This doesn’t stop me from admiring all of my sister’s strength. She has lived through some harsh experiences and I hope she continues to heal from them. She is a super-hero.