I wasn’t expecting to come to Colorado this week but my sister, Sharon, needed me. I came. She’s been living with Parkinson’s for many years and each year has brought new challenges. This year it’s time to consider full time care. It’s a difficult decision for her and for us, her family. For her, it means loss of her independence (among many other things) and for me, it means accepting that the disease truly is progressive and that these changes are inevitable. There have been many healing moments of honesty and clarity as we have shared our truth about our fears, our concerns, our sadness, our uncertainties and our deep love for each other.
Being Sharon’s little sister has had it’s challenges. She is four years older than I am which meant that she was always “ahead” in many ways. Many of our teachers, in our small town of Larned, Kansas, called me “Sharon’s little sister” rather than Beverly. She was top in her class throughout high school, college and law school and became a very well known appellate attorney in a large law firm in Dallas, Texas. It was a lot to live up to but she never made me feel “less than”- not once. I just felt proud to be her sister.
Sharon has always been my heroine and to this day (in dealing with this dreadful disease) she is exemplifying the courage that a heroine often feels/shows- being afraid but doing what must be done anyway. I read an article years ago by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. in Psychology Today that talks about the six attributes of courage:
1. Feeling Fear Yet Choosing to Act
2. Following Your Heart
3. Persevering in the Face of Adversity
4. Standing Up For What Is Right
5. Expanding Your Horizons; Letting Go of the Familiar
6. Facing Suffering With Dignity or Faith
She must have used my dear sister, Sharon, as her subject.
Do you have the courage to talk to your loved ones about these difficult subjects?
I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org about your thoughts. I truly would.