birthdays · dad · gratitude · happiness · Mum · sisters · spiritual

Our Cups Runneth Over with Love and Laughter

Many years ago my mother slipped on a wet floor at the local butcher shop, later learning that she had broken her toe. As Mum related the story to family and friends over the next few days, she would erupt into fits of laughter, tears streaming down her cheeks and hardly able to finish her story.

The reason for Mum’s hilarity was simple. The butcher who had attempted to help her up off the floor after her fall was around five-foot-nothing tall and perhaps weighed eight stone, if he was lucky!

Mum imagined what a sight it must have been, with this tiny gentleman (of course he was a gentleman, he was helping a lady!) helping a substantially larger woman up off the slippery floor!

And that, in a nutshell, was the story of my life, growing up with a mother who could always see the funny side in any situation, no matter how serious it may seem to others.

To quote an overused cliché, my family have always seen the cup as being half full, rather than half empty!

Today has been one of ‘those’ days, a day when I have spent a good deal of the day reflecting on my family life. By “family life” I am referring to my first family, the one I was born into.

There were six of us originally – Dad and Mum, my three big sisters and me. Half of them are no longer with us, but half of us are still here! And the three of us remaining sisters still share the laughter, still share the memories of the good ole days and are still there for each other, through the good times and the bad.

The sister who isn’t with us any longer would have celebrated a mile-stone birthday today. She’s been gone for over four years and sure, I miss her. Some days I feel downright angry with her, for bailing out on life and leaving the three of us!

But when I think about my biggest sister, the things I remember the most are the good times, days when we were happy together, when we shared the laughter, when we laughed so hard we cried! (It’s a family trait, you know, this crying laughing!)

I remember her when she was full of life, and joking, finding the funny side to every situation, no matter how serious it may have seemed. What I don’t want to focus on is the memory of my sister being a dead person, when her days of life meant so much to all of us!

Did I say before that my eldest sister was no longer with us? That must have been a Freudian slip! Of course she is still with us, just as our Mum and Dad are, still sharing the tears of laughter with us, still guiding us through life, still loving us.

First Family Bonds don’t break that easily, not in my family, anyway!

And the love and laughter that we have shared, and are still to share, has our cups filled to overflowing. 🙂

Photo credit – Gadget Lab.


A Sense of Spirit · birthdays · remembering · sisters · unbreakable bonds

A Bond that Lasts for Eternity

The many faces of Anne, the child

Speaking from my own point of view, (as I can have no other!) to have a sister is to feel an indescribable bond with another person, which I can liken to no other relationship I have ever had throughout my life.

My parents kindly provided three sisters for me, before I was even born. There is an age difference between us of a number of years, though, and my sisters often doubled as “mothers” to me. A double blessing!

All three of my sisters were born in England, during and just after the Second World War. My Mum told me a story once of a day when Gypsy’s came to her door, selling clothes pegs. She didn’t recall whether or not she had purchased any pegs; what she remembered vividly was the predictions one of them made for her life.

The Gypsy told my Mum that she would travel across water to live in another country, far from England, where she would give birth to a fourth daughter.

At the time, Mum laughed in disbelief at the Gypsy, although a few years later they all emigrated to Australia and some years after that, I was born.

So, there you have it. Gypsy’s can be very accurate with their predictions!

It doesn’t matter how much time may pass during which my sisters and I have no contact. Sometimes life just gets in the way and we can go months without speaking, but when we do speak, we carry on as if we only had a conversation yesterday; such is our bond.

My eldest sister was named Annette and I could best describe her as my sometimes sister, sometimes mother and always a friend.

The last time I saw Anne, just over four years ago, I knew it would be the last. Anne was extremely ill. When we said our goodbye’s, I wanted to hold her forever and never let her go. When she finally left, I cried so much and so hard that I thought I may stop breathing.

How do you say goodbye to your sister? I found out the hard way, that day.

Since she’s been gone I’ve looked for signs that Anne is about, wishing she would contact me in any way she could find to get through to me. I’ve asked my youngest sister (she’s only twelve years older than me!) if she has heard from her, but neither of us had.

Until Christmas Day, 2010, and I wasn’t even thinking about Anne at the time.

For Christmas my sister had sent me a book, “An Angel by my Side”, by Jacky Newcomb. The book was sealed up in a cellophane wrapper and I hadn’t had a chance to open the pages at all.

I decided to watch a DVD on Christmas night, but for no apparent reason the DVD player wouldn’t work. My husband thought he could easily fix the player, yet it took some time to repair.

I began to wonder if there was something else that I was meant to be doing, as I waited impatiently for the DVD player to work. I noticed the book my sister had sent me, broke off the cellophane wrapper and flicked through the pages.

Nothing in particular caught my eye, so I had a look through the contents, to get a “feel” for the book. And there it was, Chapter 12, “Love from Anne”!

Almost immediately, the DVD player started working.

The next day, I could hardly wait to phone my sister who had sent me the book.

“Did you see what one of the chapters was called?” I blurted out.

You see, Anne always signed letters and cards at the end with “Love from Anne”, which my sister also knew.

We both believe that it was Anne’s way of wishing us both a Happy Christmas. A book sent from one sister to another, with that chapter name. Our Christmas Day was complete.

Today, if Anne was still here with us, in the flesh, she would be celebrating her 70th Birthday and I would send her a birthday card, saying “Love from Joanne”.

But wherever she is, Anne knows that. 🙂