Family Is Everything as a Breast Cancer Survivor

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to have my sister visiting with me. We don’t get to see each other nearly enough so the time we have together is always something very special. Although we have made it a point to chat on the phone at least once a week, that will never allow for us to have the discussions in which we always seem to engage when we are sharing some special time alone. And we are also very fortunate to have husbands who understand that there should always be “sister time” in our lives.

“If you are fortunate enough to have family members with whom you can interact, I would really encourage you to take the time to get to know them.Barbara Jacoby

This was my sister’s first visit to Los Angeles so my husband got to be the tour guide as this is his home turf and he knows more about this city having been born and raised here. We decided though to limit tourism time in favor of visiting time. It didn’t take long for my sister and I to start our reminiscing which always leads to deeper conversations about things like how we were raised, family dynamics, the impact that certain events had on our lives, how we view completely differently the very same shared experiences, etc. This interaction is so important to me. From it, I always learn so much more about myself, why I do and think the way that I do, how certain values were formulated and the list goes on and on. And the most important thing that I realize is that there is no other way in the world for me to learn about all of these things except through my sister who is my only remaining immediate family member.

It is amazing to me that after all of these years, I still am seeing so many more aspects about myself that I never imagined. My sister and I are different in so many ways but we are also alike in so many of the fundamental things that govern our lives. Most importantly, we are grateful for the family in which we were raised and although no family is ever perfect, we think that we had some pretty special parents who did everything they could to raise us to the best of their abilities when you take into consideration the upbringing that they had.

I think that the most important thing that we may have learned along the way is that we are responsible for our own lives and our own choices. Who we are and who we choose to be is completely up to us as individuals. No one from the past is to “blame” for what we have created for ourselves that is either positive or negative. We are each given certain talents and abilities and likes and dislikes and what we choose to do with these attributes has nothing to do with how we choose to use them. We create our own paths in our lives and we are completely responsible for them regardless of how we may have been raised.

I am grateful for the time that I spent with my sister. I had this opportunity to engage with her in a way that allows for me to understand certain things from the past because she was there. Because of our shared experiences and because we can provide each other with our individual perspectives, we can learn so very much more about who we are and why we may be as we are. I love the “aha” moments that all of a sudden bring to light some aspects of myself that I could never have otherwise realized and I know in that moment the very special contributions that only my sister can make to my life.

If you are fortunate enough to have family members with whom you can interact, I would really encourage you to take the time to get to know them. Regardless of the roads that you have traveled individually, it is important to remember that you do have many shared experiences which you see from your individual vantage points. As differently as you each are, so are your perceptions and it is not ever a matter of one being right or wrong in their personal views. But, if you are willing to take down the walls of judgment and competition with one another, you can open up a vast arena of knowledge and understanding about who you are and why you are as you are that you can never tap in any other way. And the journey is well worth what you will learn.

So I want to give a special thanks to my sister who was willing to travel down that special path with me and for all of the information and enlightenment that she has provided. As a result, I now have a fuller and better understanding of myself and what that gave to me is something that is priceless. That is also something that I hope others will decide to share with their family members. It isn’t always easy but it is always worth the effort.