Sunday 1 June 2008


of the sisterly kind

Every weekend I visit my sister and help her with her housework and other errands because she has Parkinson's Disease and her energies are better spent doing more important things.

This is my sister's third major illness, all diagnosed before she was 45. It has filled me with a lot of guilt wondering why she has had to face all of this when the rest of us are all healthy (sisters and brother). It's a question she never asks though, no matter how tough it seems to get. Not out loud anyway.

She just puts everything in perspective somehow and takes what comes in her stride. She fights each set back in ernest. I often wish I had her strength and faith. I know that each of us has our own crosses to bear and none of us is immune to suffering but I wonder long and hard why really 'bad stuff' happens to good people. Why? Does anyone have the answer on that? Because I really would like to know.

Whenever I visit she is always so calm about everything. I am the total opposite. She always calms me down and teaches me something each and every time, without fail. I love her lessons and I get more out of my visits then I could possibly give in return.

Today the lessons were simple. Really love the people you love, keep your heart open, never harm anyone, stay away from anyone who sucks the life out of you, ditch the things that are just taking up space in your life and enjoy the ordinary pleasures that we always take for granted. Simply because you never know when you may not be able to do them anymore.

Today, on the first day of winter, we shared some time in the sunshine. We had a long talk about how we needed to bring back a few tried and true pleasures for her from the brink of extinction, just for the hell of it you understand.

Now possibly three hour martini lunches are never going to cut it particularly as she said she is already unsteady on her feet, but there are a few others we decided we are going to embrace a little more frequently.
1. Sleeping in
2. Foot Massages
3. Sitting in silence
4. Walking in the rain
5. Afternoon cocktails
6. Floating in the ocean
7. Reading in a hammock
8. Uncontrollable laughter
9. Music so loud to shake the walls, and
10. Dancing, of any kind no matter how stupid we may look

Thanks Meg. Somehow, even on the first day of winter, you make the sun shine brighter than ever.

UPDATE: The very talented Vikki, from Red Chair Gallery has given me another essential to add to the list. So here is No 11.
"At least once a week …Make a really fattening and delicious midnight snack with chocolate and ice cream and whipping cream and those little crunchy things and maybe some fruit...and...! Hmmmm!”


  1. What an inspirational story!! Often people who are dealt a bad hand, as your sister has been, have the best, most positive attitudes of anyone. Maybe it is because they are forced to accept things in a much different manner than we are, or maybe they already have that ability, deep inside them, and it takes a tragic event to bring it out.

    As for why bad things happen to good people, perhaps it is because God needs them to be teachers to the rest of us on how the human spirit can overcome anything if you have the right mindset. Maybe people like your sister really are the chosen ones, because of their spirit.

    I hope you really do stick to your "true pleasures" list. We all need things like those that really help us get through the strain of everyday life.

  2. Oh- Lilly,
    I wish I could hug you.
    Your blog is so moving and inspirational. I feel a small relationship between your blog and mine this week. We’re a little melancholy, but with a message. Maybe it’s something in stars, huh?

    I have a good friend who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I’m going to send her your URL. I think she’ll really enjoy it. And tell your Sis I think this one should also be added to your list-

    “At least once a week …Make a really fattening and delicious midnight snack with chocolate and ice cream and whipping cream and those little crunchy things and maybe some fruit...and...! Hmmmm!”


  3. any day that includes all 10 things on your list is very one fine day, i'd say. thanks for sharing this...

  4. Wow it's nice to have a sister like you and like your sister. You have such a good relationship.

    I also sometimes wonder why bad things happen to good people.I don't get it it but like what matt said, maybe they are the chosen teach us and let us realize how lucky we are.

    Take time in doing the pleasure list.You both deserve it.

    off topic: yeah i've seen what sjp wore in london...not for me too;)
    btw, have anyone told you, you look a bit like her? ;)

  5. @ Matt - thanks for your thoughts -I really like the idea that God needs us to be teachers for others - its a good way to look at the bad stuff that happens to us. I think it would be a way to accept it moreso. Someone also emailed me and said that too often people assume life is all about being wonderful and perfect when in reality we are making our way through all the ups and downs to somewhere far more special ultimately. I think I was asleep in catechism but my sense of spirituality sure has come to the fore in recent times. Thanks for dropping by, you have given me lots of positive things to think about.

    @ Redchair, back right at you too! Love your cleverness, sense of humour and talents galore. I have also changed the list to include your essential number 11. It's definitely in the stars!!! Thanks so much for stopping by.

    @ Horationsalt - well you provide the uncontrollable laughter you know, so thank you sincerely!! And don't stop whatever it is that makes you YOU!!

    @ pinayjade - I agree I like Matt's take on it too. Never heard it expressed like that before. Then again I have never asked the question. Yep SJP - I think its just the wavy hair that makes me look like her and the kind of angular face, big nose he he - there is a picture on here somewhere of me with my daughter and we arent really alike - I wouldnt mind though because I think she is kind of interesting! And I love the way she throws on her clothes (or her stylist does)!! Great to see you again!

  6. Hi Lily! Your post is so touching, poignant and beautiful! You have made a very wonderful list of things that every one should actually "embrace with" with their own family members. Thank you for adding my blog to your list of blogs, i'm so honored.

    ps... i love the 11th as well.

  7. Rachel - I love the 11th also. I will be stopping by your blog regularly - I am a shopper extraordinaire - could do it underwater I am sure! I am looking for some great tips! Particularly for online shopping - great idea!

  8. I agree with Matt, those who are dealt an unfair hand are uplifting to those around them. My Mom was born with albinism and blindness. Never in my life have I heard her say that she has a handicap. She's a teacher for regular sighted children and they don't know of her vision. Mom laughs when the childrne say, "You have eyes in the back of your head." Her other senses kick in quickly! She also has epilepsy, went through a car crash when she was 18 where her face hit the dashboard (made of metal back then), has glucoma and according to a bone density test - the bones of a 90 year old when she was only 60! Yet.... Mom's spirit is unbelievable. She is a generous, loving woman and I'm lucky to be her daughter. I think God sent her to earth to show us what the spirit can do...

  9. Aleta - wow lucky you to have such an inspirational mother, you should write a story about her. Yes Matt is very wise and I really love his answer to it all too. It actually gives a person great comfort to think of it like that. And somehow I think your mother may be very lucky to have a daughter such as you who sees what she has achieved. Keep learning her lessons and thanks so much for sharing. I loved your comment!


Thanks for your comments.