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Separated Sisters

It’s a cool South African morning in the outskirts of Johannesburg. A welcome cup of tea warms my hand and I think over the past week and my reunion with my younger and older sisters. How different we all are. My younger sister chose the role to be my mum’s companion many years ago – bless her – whilst my older sister and I now have our own families.

As I look around me, my elder sister’s house has a terracotta tiled patio that envelopes two sides of their double-storied tin-roofed house. An arbitrary collection of comfortable wicker and fibre glass chairs, tables, a few barbecues (braais) and the normal hanging paraphernalia that one collects over the years, sit in silent companionship. But, it’s the verdant and carefully positioned but wildly abundant plants in front and around that enthral me. A fresh, pure and earthy scent beckons me, encouraging some deep breaths and a sense of well-being. My older sister and I share a love of gardening.

The three sisters; From left – Dirce, Marisa and Elena

Rediscovering sisters is an exciting process. Of course, digital connection across large distances has provided the surface knowledge of what’s happening in our lives. But only face to face interludes uncover the thoughts and goals that drive us. Not surprisingly, we have been influenced by the many diverse interactions and events that have happened sending us on individual paths. But with face-to-face reconnection, some childhood traits invariably come through, and can be enjoyed as whimsical memories.

My mother, Maria (Iucci) is the unifying force that draws three sisters together. Our Italian mamma, now into her 84th year, created us, nurtured us, instilled initial patterns of behaviour that may or may not have been mutated through our coming of age and separate lives. My mamma has led an incredible life and not surprisingly, was the inspiration for my book, GOODBYE to Italia.

My older sister and I discussed whether luck, choices, personality or, some of all three, had formed the different choices and decisions that three sisters have made and the lives we are leading. I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know. More importantly, as I look out across my sister’s gorgeous garden, I know that this sisterhood is strong. I know that if I need them, they’ll be there for me, as I am for them.

Marisa Parker - Author


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