Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Entry: Sister Moments

You Wouldn’t Say we were Sisters
By Debbie Roome


You wouldn’t say we were sisters. While I am average height, she is noticeably shorter. My hair and skin are dark but hers are blonde and fair. I am an introvert but she is full of bounce and life. My health is excellent while she deals with many health issues.

We have never whispered secrets, laughed about boys, double-dated or coached each other in sport. We have never taken long walks together or giggled on the phone. We live thousands of miles apart in different countries, yet she is my sister; raised in the same home, born from the same parents.

In spite of our differences, Leanne is my biggest fan. She has all our important dates memorized: birthdays, anniversaries, the ages of my five children and she calls my husband her “dear brother-in-law”. In earlier years the attention used to annoy me, but age and distance have wrought a softening and a new understanding in my heart.

Leanne will never marry, never have children and will never live on her own. She will never drive a car or catch a bus unaided. She will never cook a meal, wash her clothes or iron a shirt. She cannot because she was born with a condition called Rubenstein-Taybi Syndrome. This rare genetic disorder causes mental and physical disabilities and she will always be dependant on others.


I last saw her in August 2006 while on a brief visit to South Africa. She still lives with my parents there and during the day works at a sheltered workshop. Her friends are very important to her and she talks about them incessantly. At work, so I am told, the talk is all about us.

While in South Africa, I offered to go to her workshop to photograph her with her friends. She was very excited and for two days, it was all we (and they) heard about. Finally, the hour arrived and with my Dad, I walked through the gates. Leanne was exuberant and called all her friends. “My sister is here! My sister is here!” We got them into a group and I took several shots, none of them too successful as their attention wandered very quickly. No matter. They were all very pleased and it was probably the highlight of their day.

That moment has remained imprinted on my heart and from it I have found fresh hope and new inspiration in my writing. Jealousy, anger and resentment towards Leanne littered my younger years but now I’m seeing something new. God is turning those experiences into compassion and understanding and an ability to see past the exterior.

Leanne and I may not communicate well in this world, but in the next, she will be perfect. I look forward to catching up and taking long walks with her.

Submitted by
Debbie Roome

1 comment:

Jessica said...

This is beautiful. Thank you!