October 25, 2020

Two sisters reunited by laughter

They say you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. Sometimes you feel stuck with your annoying sister or brother and you just wish you could click your fingers and make them disappear, if only for a little while. Yet in reality, we are lucky to have someone so close to us, who is there for us when we need them and who we can count on. Of course, not all families are like this.

Today there are more broken homes and families than there are ‘perfect’ ones. The idea of the perfect family really doesn’t exist. Whether it is divorces, separations, stepbrothers, stepsisters, new mums, and new dads or something else, every family has its own unique history. Some families get separated at a young age and even though they may have a brother or sister they may never get to know them.

This is why Jeanne and Cheryl’s story is particularly remarkable. They grew up in a pretty unique family setting. It was what many would call dysfunctional. Three siblings that didn’t spend much time together due to a series of marriages and divorces where the splits between parents would often force splits between children.  Jeanne and Cheryl were less than 2 years different in age but in many ways were worlds apart. When Jeanne turned 18 she got married and moved to Chicago. When Cheryl turned 19 she went to live on her father’s farm in Virginia. Both had left the family home in Wisconsin and were not in contact with each other at all. It was likely they would never see each other again.

Then, a few years later, on short notice, Cheryl decided to visit New York City. Her fiance’s cousin lived there and she had never been before. So when he was visiting his relative she took the opportunity to see the incredible city. It was very different from the small one-horse town she knew in Virginia. The hustle and bustle was overwhelming but being a tourist for a week was great fun. She didn’t know it but Jeanne was visiting the same city in that same week. Jeanne had come to the city to see an opera. She would only be there for that one week as well. Still though in a city with a population of 20 million what would the chances of them seeing each other be? Close to none.

Actually, they didn’t see each other. Even though they were crossing the same pedestrian crossing at the exact same moment, they didn’t see each other. Cheryl did laugh though. Her husband-to-be made a joke and she laughed in such a manner that Jeanne lifted her head up and shouted “Cheryl!?!?”. How Jeanne recognized Cheryl’s laugh at that moment we will never know. It had been five years since they had last seen each other and both kids were now in their mid-20s, they were kids no longer. Jeanne was surely not thinking of anything about Cheryl at that moment but whatever way she laughed, triggered her. Cheryl swears she has a pretty ordinary laugh but we are not so sure.

Fast forward to modern-day and Cheryl and Jeanne are both in their fifties. After their chance encounter in New York, they realized they didn’t want to live so far away from each other. They decided to move back to their home town of Wisconsin and have been inseparable ever since.

The incredible story is a reminder of how strong family bonds can be, even in dysfunctional families. There is a certain bond that you can have with a family member that you can never have with someone else. It is a trust that runs deeper. Reach out to your family members today and tell them how much they mean to you.