Being sisters we had ofcourse grown up together. But the trajectory of growth in this period was steep and outstanding. We learned to distinguish useful doctors from the smart ones, to sport worthy service persons with five minutes in to the conversation with them, to decide on best course of treatment even in the face of conflicting opinions, and the list goes on. My personal favorite for obvious reasons is when we play the good cop - bad cop routine, where I would invariably be the good cop.
Our personalities complimented perfectly. She would be impatient for results, ideas, and pretty much anything. She also had no problem expressing herself at the highest audible levels with the choicest of words. In front of her I appeared rather calm and patient and sometimes too calm for comfort. We divided performing tasks and dealing with people that suited our nature.
One ever present issue during this period was that my sister had left behind her husband and seven year old daughter back in Cochin. She didn't know what to expect when she first come to help and with the situation so grave, couldn't fathom leaving our father or most importantly leaving us by ourselves.
Although my niece and brother-in-law would visit as often as school and work would permit it was no substitute for them living together. All sorts of possibilities were discussed - maybe they should all move in with us, or my niece comes first then brother-in-law or my sister starts working and they move somewhere close to us. In all the combination, the one thing she never contemplated much to my brother-in-law's dismay was moving back to Cochin.
After one of the particularly intense debates we somehow decided maybe it was best for her and her family to go back. Since the day we decided this to the actual day she moved, she cried everyday. She would alternate her reason for distress between our parents and myself, but cry everyday she did. Finally end of summer of 2012 my sister and niece went back to Cochin.
I was most encouraging of her going, had a feeling of calm and peace about the decision. But once she was gone I mentally broke down. Thinking back, I think it was more like petrified. Even though I was the one who was more hands on with our father, took him to the treatments, and sat vigilant through all the infection episodes, I relied on her for most decision making. My biggest fear was I would miss something that she might have caught. To be solely in charge of my parents and grandmother was more than I would imagine. I had attacks of paranoia on most nights, when that wasn't the case I ate a lot of desserts and watched a ton of movies.
Its been over a year since she moved. During this period there have been fair share of starting new treatments, highly distressing issues and also thankfully some heartening progress. We seemed to have survived better than I thought we would.