Another in my mini-series of guest blogs comes from my other sister Jen (her blog is on my blogroll – Growing more than  vegetables) and it’s amazing. Though growing up, we weren’t as close as Jess and I were, over the past few years – and this year in particular – we have developed a stronger bond than ever, and that makes me feel complete in my “sisterhood” with my two sisters. We are fiercely protective of each other, and I think her post really exemplifies that here. She brings up a very good point as well…that while I may have lost a lot during “the situation,” I have gained far more from this experience. Couldn’t be more true.

Her words…

When the phone rang and I saw my sister’s caller ID at 8pm, I immediately thought the worst and figured she was calling to say someone in our family had died.  Not that that’s late but it seemed out of the ordinary.

It was Jess and she was crying so I was bracing myself. When she told me what was going on between Jolene and Pete, it felt just like a death being announced.  I was in disbelief and shock.

My heart broke for Jolene because it reminded me so much of a painful break up that I endured a few years before. No, we weren’t married and our relationship was much shorter but still I was blindsided by it when it came to an end. Even without talking to her right away I could just imagine what she was feeling. And I felt heart sick.

Of course I am the optimistic one thinking it would work out somehow and they would stay together. But, quickly I realized that it was for the best that they separate.

After talking to Jess, I vowed to be there for my sister no matter what!  I felt the need to protect her and stand up for her! I just wanted to keep her from feeling pain or hurt.  I obviously couldn’t do that but I tried to just listen and be there for her, on her terms of course ☺

Through the separation I tried not to resent Pete for what he was doing to my sister. It was so hard not to hate him.  How could a guy I thought of as a brother, stood up for me at my own wedding and share so many family moments together just up and leave her? Leave us?

I still can’t answer that fully.  I have decided that whatever reason he had will never be a good enough reason in my book. Sadly, he walked away from the person he could have ever hoped to have as a wife.   But that he could walk away for any reason makes him not worthy of her in the end.

Though I could tell the first few months were rough for Jolene, she has under gone an amazing transformation in the recent months.  It is obvious from watching her go through this that she is a stronger woman than she even thought she was.

Blogging has been an outlet for her but also a way for us to hear her thoughts without her having to relive it over an over with each person that was concerned about her.

Jolene took a situation that could have destroyed her and turned it around to make it an experience that changed her but only in very good ways.  She has developed her own sense of self and identity as an individual.

I am not saying that she didn’t have that sense of self before she met Pete, but that was 10 years ago! To me, it can be really valuable to get some time to spend on your own before settling into a long term relationship.  She really didn’t get that chance before Pete and now she has used it to her advantage and is one courageous, witty, confident and special person!

I think about how I would have reacted if I were in her shoes and I will admit I think I would have been more bitter and resentful myself.  Not great character feature I know!  I am continually amazed and inspired by my sister and am in awe of her grace and poise when dealing with this ‘situation’.

It may seem to other like she has lost so much, but in the end she gained so much more than she ‘lost’. She discovered who she really is, what she wants in life and that she is tougher and stronger than she ever thought she could be.  And I hope she knows just how much this family loves her, especially me!

Now, she is closing one chapter in her life and opening up a new one. I see a bright future on the horizon for her and for our family.  We will always be right there behind you Jolene. We are your cheerleaders, your biggest supporters and your family!

I am so excited to see what life brings your way and can’t wait to celebrate new and exciting milestones along the way! Love you sis!