Ode to a Sister

“Regrets I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption”
From My Way sung by Frank Sinatra.

I think as we look back on our lives there are always some regrets.  The road not taken; the decision not made; the opportunity missed.  For me one of my regrets is time not having been spent with family.  Because I moved to the other side of the world I know that I missed out on lots of celebrations but also missed out on shouldering some responsibilities.

Thinking about this today I came up with this “Ode to a Sister”

I am not there when you call out my name
I am not there when you need a sister’s help
I am not there when things go wrong
And you need a shoulder to cry on.
I am not there

I am not there to celebrate the births of grandchildren
Or the marriage of your daughter
I am not there to see your children thriving and
I am not there to see their children growing

I am not there when decisions on mother’s care must be made
I am not there to assure you that the decisions are right
I am not there when mother dies and you have to deal with it
Alone until we came from far away

I am not there to help you cope with father’s aging
I am not there to help make  decisions on his care
I am not there when he dies and again you deal with it
I am not there.

I am not there when more decisions must be made
Dealing with the trappings of our parents lives
Unknown things about them surface
And I am not there.

I am not there to celebrate 21st birthdays
Or special birthdays of your own
I am not there when a special friend dies
I am not there.

I am not there when riots flare around you
And scared you sit alone in your flat
I am not there to hug you and say you will be safe
I am not there.

But I am there always with you
In thoughts and memories that we share
I will always be your loving sister
I am there.

I wrote this as stream of consciousness and it is published just as I wrote it.  so it’s from the heart.

Sisters are very special  and I have said this so many times before.  But before I get mawkish about my sisters, one in London and one in Los Angeles, I shall end this post.

Mother and girls

Mother with her three daughters

“Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters – never had to have a chaperone, “No sir” – I’m here to keep my eye on her.”  Irving Berlin 1988-1989.
Composer and lyricist


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33 responses to “Ode to a Sister

  1. I have three sisters, one of which I don’t know what I’d do without! Lovely post.

  2. Love your ode and am glad you are still closely connected. Beautiful sentiments.

  3. Sinatra’s last words: “I shoulda did it their way.”

  4. Wonderful post . . . love the photo! 😀

    • Thanks – one of those things that just come to you where you least expect it. And the photo? That was taken when we were all very young. The sister to whom the Ode is written is the baby on mother’s lap. I am on mother’s left and my elder sister on the right. Great memories of a happy childhood.

  5. Judith, must be hard to have a sister living in London, with all that’s going on there. I was also an out-of-town sister, all over the place with music, and one never left our home town, so she was “stuck,” except not really. There is always choice… you sound like you are a great sister! Thanks, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/strolling-we-write-poems/

  6. Judith, I like the fact that you wrote from the heart and published it straight-away. Well done. I’m sure your words and sentiment are shared by many, as families spread out. I consider myself fortunate to have four of my five siblings in the same state.

    Lovely.

  7. I’m some distance from my sister, so I know what you mean about not being there, yet being there. Beautiful poem, Judith. 🙂

  8. Beautiful post Judith and you speak for me too. Like you, I have two sisters on the other side of the world and we are in touch but with the same degree of distance as you describe… I will share your poem with them, It is apropos. TY! 🙂
    Phew… glad I’m finally catching up on posts I missed… I’ve been battling pneumonia and household changes as my children go off to college; I am grateful for God’s grace and the love/support in my life. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment and I am honoured that you will share it with your sisters. Thank you for that too.
      I sat down for one whole day when I came back from the mountain and did nothing but read and comment on posts and respond to those who commented on mine. Hope the pneumonia has gone – isn’t it summer where you are? Are both of yours going off at the same time? That will be hard for you.
      Take care and keep well. 🙂

  9. This is so lovely and heartfelt. I never had a sister, only three brothers; but I have three good sisters-in-law–though we don’t see much of each other, spread around the country.

  10. Such a beautiful poem! 🙂

  11. Thanks Sharon. As I said in an earlier response, I sat down, wrote it and published it before I could change it in any way. It reflects exactly how I feel about my sisters.

  12. Christinein Los Angeles

    What would we have done, without her to look after them? I just love that photo of us with our young Mum. I think, in Marianne’s face, you see the woman she would become.
    God bless, middle sister,
    Christine

    • Indeed what we we have done? We are both so lucky that her choice was to stay in London while we roamed the world.
      Thanks for the comment big sister. Judith 🙂

  13. This is my first visit to your site and I already see alot that I like here. I love how you have taken memories of the years and then become inspired to write. This one of ‘sisters’ reminds me of my own. We live in different states and although sad at times I’ve not been there when mom died and now dad is elderly, we always will have our memories and will always be sisters. Thank You!

    • I have two sisters. One in London that the Ode was directed at and one in Los Angeles so we are very far apart. But thanks goodness for emails. 🙂

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  15. Only just read the poem Thank you I love you so much.XXX

    • And I mean every word of it. I am sorry that we missed so much of each others lives and feel a certain guilt that you were left to shoulder those burdens. Love you to. XXX 🙂

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  17. Judith, this is so special. I’ve read other posts about your sisters, but not this one. The challenges of helping family out from long distances can be difficult…thankfully, there is email now, and it sounds like that is wonderful for you and your sisters, making it easier to connect and reconnect. Thank you for linking this poem….it’s so heartfelt.

  18. This was written from the heart. You can see the comment that sister made above – she is Marianne. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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  21. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    This is great, & I love it. Frank Sinatra’s words… well, when ELVIS sang it – that grounded it for me. 🙂

    But this Ode to Sister you came up with: I feel it. xx N’n.

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