C is for Charisse

My sister, Lisa Charisse
My sister, Lisa Charisse

This 3rd day of the A to Z blogging challenge happens to be the birthday of my beloved sister, Lisa Charisse. She’s on my mind because my mother is on my mind, and our mother (whom I so miss) is on the other side now.  So many years ago she birthed her third of four children, and that one was sweet Lisa Charisse.

Actress-dancer Cyd Charisse
Actress-dancer, Cyd Charisse

My mother had something of a penchant for French names — movie stars in particular, and so I was born Michelle Caron (after French actress Leslie Caron), my dearly departed sister, Stefanie Cyd, was given Cyd (after the actress-dancer, Cyd Charisse), and baby girl Lisa — Charisse– after Cyd Charisse. Ms. Charisse withstood the challenges of childhood polio to grow into a strong successful dancer and my mother, a strong glamorous woman, seemed to admire strong, glamorous women.

My sister is a strong, glamorous woman, too. She loves with all her heart, cares for those in her charge as a nurse, sister, daughter, mother, friend. As my mother’s body and mind began to yield to the ravages of a growing Alzheimer’s condition, it was ever more challenging to witness the shrinking stature of the loving mother we all knew. Lisa rose to the occasion to become the ever-present, ever ready-on call family representative, even as she worked full-time 12 hour days and worried over other loved ones. Her faith-filled, dedicated loving care stood in for me in my absence across the miles.

That my sister is deeply loving, big-hearted, and compassionate is no surprise to me, but that she went above and beyond her daughterly duty, almost to her own detriment, to attend to our mother in her last failing years is something for which I am still growing in gratitude.

And so I want to take this moment to say in writing what is bursting from my heart. I love you, Lisa Charisse! I am so grateful we were born and raised by the same woman, who modeled true, selfless love. It is clear to me that you best embodied that lesson between the two of us.

Happy Birthday, Lisa Charisse!  I am truly blessed to have you as my sister. I continue to wish for you every good thing, and that the desires of your heart be fulfilled.

C

© 2014 Egyirba High All Rights Reserved

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