What would you do if you saw yourself in another person's body? Not in a Freaky Friday sort of way, but in a spiritual "this must be kismet because nothing else makes sense" kind of way? This other person may very well be your soul mate, or perhaps, they were sent to teach you.
In all my years covering social issues, I've learned some simply need a little more love and support then others. It may be draining at times, let's acknowledge that but you can handle it, you'll see your much stronger than you ever gave yourself credit for.
There are stark differences between my older brother and myself: he's an evangelical preacher at a rural megachurch who relaxes by bowhunting deer. I'm a tofu-consuming socialist who believes that we really have no way of knowing what's "out there."
Jocko is a white ape. Some say he's a chimp, others describe him as a monkey. It makes no difference to me for I love the little guy regardless of his specie. Jocko stands about six inches tall, which was the perfect size to fit into my 6-year-old palm in 1966.
Today's parents plan joint birthdays for the same reason your mother did: It's convenient, cheaper and theoretically easier than throwing two parties. But their online ruminations suggest that they worry about making the right choice.
Applying for college is very stressful -- not just for your sister, but also for your mom and dad. If they're like most parents I've met, who spend a lot of time and energy helping their kids, it might feel as if they are being judged.
What did it mean that there were no handbooks for me? That people asked me to be strong in the face of the biggest loss I'd ever experienced or imagined? At times I felt like I didn't deserve to feel so shattered, especially in the shadow of my parents' immense loss.