My earliest memories of us are in our shared room where I climbed into her bed night after night and she would tirelessly put me to sleep for hours after my mom thought she had. Tickling my back, telling me stories, making me laugh and sushhhhing my fears. About the war that wasn't even happening. About the war that was only inside my head. She would distract me with stories of my Indian brother "Sendai" who would visit our bedroom window at night on his flying carpet (and would take me away if I was bad). We spoke nonsense into the dark, in a pretend language that only we knew. I watched as she woke up with our baby sister and would drag her crying from her crib and into our bed, effortlessly and instinctively when our mom couldn't hear. When I was afraid of the "ghosts" I saw in our room, she didn't skip a beat. "It's only angels" she said... "you are lucky," she promised.
My first playmate, my pen-pal, my most creative friend and my teacher, writing letters to the characters inside of my head and urging me to "keep writing both silly and beautiful things." Today she is still the first person I want when I am scared and the only person who has ever made me feel normal. The one who fought tooth and nail for our dad, loving him passionately and fiercely in a way that only a daughter could. The one I have to share with our First Nations people because they need her more than me. Even though I weep in fear, selfishly and bitterly when she goes, I know she has no choice. It is already written. Where you are called, you go, she says. You go and be the hand and heart for people. You go not as your privilege, not as your job and not as separate. You go as a mother and as a wife. You go as a sister.