I have a sister.
Sometimes, she makes bad decisions. Sometimes those decisions are about men. Sometimes they are about friends. Sometimes they are about jobs.
Sometimes she's a slob. Sometimes she lives in total filth, and it's the complete opposite of how I am compelled to order my world, and I wonder how someone, how anyone, could live that way.
Sometimes she's sad. Sometimes she's angry. Sometimes she's manic, sometimes she's impulsive, and sometimes her moods swing wildly in between. Sometimes I blink and everything's different. She's different.
I am a sister.
Sometimes I am angry. Sometimes I am frustrated. Sometimes I am hurt. Sometimes, I despair. I wonder whether it will ever get better. Sometimes I wonder whether she will ever get better.
Sometimes I feel like I can't go on. Sometimes I don't want to be supportive. Sometimes I don't want to talk about it, don't want to hear about it, don't want to think about it.
She is my sister.
She's wonderful. She's funny. She's smart, although she'll never believe it. She's the smile on my children's faces when they see her and scream for her and run into her arms.
She's a shared history, she's shared memories, she's a repository of moments I will never live again but that I lived with her, and they are tattooed on our souls in a way that is irremovable.
I am her sister.
And even when I don't want to, even when I am tired, even when my heart breaks, I am going to be there.
I've watched her struggle with her own mind. I've watched her follow her treatment team's advice, take her medication on time, change her entire lifestyle. I've watched her fight and I've watched it eat away at her. I've watched her beg for change, for help. I've watched her give up, momentarily, and I've watched her come back. There are no words for how she's handled pain and despair and loss and come back.
She's my sister, and she has value, and it's not determined by her relationships, or her status, or how clean her home is, or how well she cares for her things, or any of the myriad of things that apparently, some author on xoJane thinks define her value.
She's valuable because she is. She's worthwhile because she is.
And until the day that one or both of us are dead and gone, she is never beyond help. More importantly, she is never beyond caring, beyond compassion, beyond empathy.
I live with the fear that some day, somewhere, at some time, it will all be too much, and she will be gone. She will leave my life forever. It's a solid block, settled in the back of my mind, that occasionally crawls out and closes over my throat, sinking into my chest in a smog of dread. But I am here, and here I'll stay.
She is my sister, and I am her sister. And she is worth it.