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Unexpected Consequences


Recently a previously undiagnosed condition in my husband resulted first in our trip to the emergency room and subsequently to his admission to the hospital.

About two hours after our arrival at the E.R., I looked up to see my youngest sister walking toward me.     She is a physician, but it’s not her professional position (though her explanations of what was being done and why were invaluable) that created the sense of total well-being when I saw her. It was her family position: my sister was there with and for me.

That sense was then repeated a few hours later, when — after my husband was admitted to the hospital for stabilization and further testing — I saw a second of my three sisters and her husband approaching.  What made this startling was the fact that she had just had serious back surgery the week before.  When I told her how great it was to see her, but questioned what on earth she was doing, making the 45-minute drive it took to get there, she said “There was never any question about what we’d do.  We’re here for both of you.”

Moments later it was a third sister’s turn (the one with a definite dislike of hospitals) to appear and wrap her arms around me.

The support of all three of them remained constant throughout the several days required to provide my husband with, thankfully,  a thumbs-up resolution.

I’ve been an oldest daughter since I was four years old.  Even as a little girl, I felt like the “protector” for my four younger siblings. Except for one occasion a few years ago when my much larger brother enveloped me in a sudden, virtual bear hug — allowing myself to feel like “the protected”  is a turned-around experience for me.    I’m cherishing it.


When oldest daughters get together, we often talk about situations in which we are expected — or expect of ourselves — to take care of our birth family’s needs.  My husband’s recent hospitalization has created a shift in my assumptions.

Have you experienced any incident  that created a change in your relationship as oldest daughter with your own siblings?

  1. D'Ann Dreiling
    April 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    What a lovely story – so glad you shared it!

  2. Lanti Riederer
    April 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Can’t report on a particular incident, but love this post.

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