As many of you are aware, family is not simply blood relatives. A family is what you opt to make of it! My grandparents moved into our town in the early 1930’s, where my grandfather set up his medical practice, immediately after their wedding. Within a few years they had made friends within the community but one couple stood out. Another doctor and his wife became their best friends. The relationship was so close that my Mother always referred to them as her Aunt and Uncle! My grandparents, aunt, uncle, their respective families and other friends would escape to Cape Cod at the end of every summer until the children were grown and married…and when my aunt and uncle’s “surprise” made her debut! Yes, they had a “late life” baby and this little girl became my “prototype!” My parents would take her out, learn to care for her and, by the time I made my debut, they still hadn’t figured out parenting! No matter what, we were raised together virtually as sisters. I’m three years younger and I would always be compared to her at school! We took our first “big” trips together – a two week cruise one summer and a six week tour through Scandinavia the following year. She introduced me to Daphne DuMaurier and Carly Simon! She teased me unmercifully about my love for The Beatles! She insisted they were all gay but I stood my ground and said NO! Secretly, I went behind her back and asked my grandfather if The Beatles were a happy group. He asked why and I relayed her information. I don’t think I ever recall my grandfather laughing as hard and loud as he did then! A few years later, she invited me behind the wheel of her car and taught me how to drive! Just before this time, life had become a nightmare for my “sister.” She had been diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t allowed to see her for quite some time. My notes and phone calls went unanswered. When I finally was able to see her again she was rail-thin but GLOWING! She met her future husband while she was in the hospital. They married three years later. Even though she had told me when they met that she wanted me to be in her bridal party, I was not asked. Disappointment ensued and I unhappily attended the festivities. Several moons passed and I met my hubby-to-be. The hurt from her “snub” had eased over time and I was so hopeful she would attend my wedding! I WANTED her to meet my love. The invitation was declined; silence ensued until FaceBook entered the daily lexicon! We finally reconnected seven years ago…in person! The hug she gave me that day I will NEVER FORGET! So long, so tight, so full of love! I remember the disappointment but it is tempered by the knowledge that I just need to pick up my phone, type a text (she doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone as much as she did when we were younger) and her response will appear fairly quickly! She was a “flower child” who matured into an “earth mother.” I can envision her as Gaia! The cancer from long ago haunts her to this day. The treatments have taken taken a toll on her heart. As it Is Eruv Yom Kippur, whoever is reading this, please say a healing prayer for my sister! Thank You from the bottom of my heart! L’Shana Tovah!