As I thought about this week’s blog, I began thinking about Mother’s Day and my mother who passed away more than15 years ago. At the same time, I received some photos and information from my sister who is busy doing a family history about my father’s side of our family. My father passed away more than 30 years ago from lung cancer. This all took me back to my hometown of Williamsport, PA and to a time and a place that holds such a special place in my heart. I have so many happy memories of my life there, especially with regard to my family and friends and I started to think about how my life there contributed to the person that I am today and how despite my being 3,000 miles away from my roots, it is at times like these that I know that the time and space have no relevance.
“How fortunate I am to have had such a wonderful life with such a wonderful family.”Barbara Jacoby
I had wonderful parents. Their family was everything to them and they sacrificed a lot for their three children. Such great values were instilled in us. We learned respect and manners and how to work hard. We learned the value of a dollar and how to treat other as individuals and a strong spiritual belief was instilled in us. And most importantly, we learned about love. We lived love. How we were taught and what we were taught by their examples has served us well for our adult lives.
My sister and brother and I were not particularly close while growing up, mostly because we were so different from each other. However, that was a good thing because we were encouraged to be and think and become the individuals that we are. My sister and I shared our love for tennis and we made great doubles partners. But we also shared a bedroom and that was not fun. She was the older sister and had her own life and her own friends and her own very independent spirit. My brother and I were only a year apart in age and I loved playing baseball and being silly and doing stupid stuff with him. But once we hit our teens, we also found separate worlds of interests and groups of friends.
The three of us came full circle as adults and although my brother passed away 13 years ago and my sister lives in another State, we became so entwined with each other. And although we continued to be so different one from another, we ultimately ended up complementing each other rather than being in opposition to one another.
My brother had an indomitable spirit that brought him through 11 cancer-related surgeries and so much pain that I can’t even imagine. With each surgery, I prayed that it would be the end of the pain and the cancer after 16 years of having to endure so much and having lost a kidney and a lung to this disease but he lost his life during a 12th cancer-related surgery. And somehow through it all, he had a highly successful career and was such a gentle, kind and giving person. And I am sure that the fantastic wife who was literally right by his side through it all had played a major role in his success in all aspects of his life.
My sister is so special in her independence, intelligence and her always being there to help others. She was the one who looked after my mom on a daily basis in her later years while raising a fabulous daughter together with her awesome husband. She has traveled to Europe for decades where she ultimately met her husband and now visits her daughter who has lived there for many years. And she engineered my first trip to Europe a number of years ago as we traveled together, just the two of us, on our first sister-only adventure.
For me, it is a great experience to see how my past and the past of my family in our hometown has come around to the present and how it has shaped who I am and what I do as I continue to embark on new experiences for the future and to have had such a wonderful family that brought so much happiness to my life and to my very existence. For the love that we learned so very long ago has shaped all that we became and, now for my sister and me, all that we are yet to become. How fortunate I am to have had such a wonderful life with such a wonderful family.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.