The eternal bond with my sister: forever grateful

August 2, 2023

L-R: Sisters, Sophie (6 years) and Kate (3 years) Rogers

Kate Rogers shares the depth of her relationship with her sister and how it changes and grows

My sister and I have been siblings since I was born, funnily enough, but we’ve only been friends since I was 14. So, for the majority of our childhood, we’ve been close as blood relations are and equally close to ripping each other’s hair out!

We were near enough in age, three years between us, to play together when we were little but far enough apart that, at times, my sister and I thought each other were the most annoying thing that could possibly exist. I thought she was put on this earth with the express purpose of getting on my nerves!

Now, things are very different. I would consider my sister more of a best friend than a sibling. Think Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic, a film about two magic sisters who will do just about anything for each other. So being apart from her is much worse than if she were just my big sister.

In September of 2021, having spent the covid pandemic glued to each other’s sides, my sister leaving for university seemed like something I simply couldn’t cope with.

Relationships require mutual sustained effort, and although I feel slightly cynical to say this, they are transactions. My sister and I were both embarking on new stages in our lives, and I was worried that one of us would fall short.

My sister was always bad at texting. I had just joined a new school to do my A-levels, which was all-consuming. I was concerned these factors could contribute to a loss of closeness which they did for a time, and it was so hard.

The undeniable joy of being reunited was clear. My sister had missed me just as much as I missed her.

The longest I’d gone without seeing my sister, before she moved up north, was about a week, maybe even five days. So, when she moved out to university last year, and I didn’t see her for six weeks, it felt like a part of my home and heart was missing.

I was worried, on my way to visit Sophie, that we wouldn’t be as close. She might be too cool, too old or just not interested in me anymore. We’d always shared similar life experiences living together, the same schools, the same holidays but now she had her own life and it dawned on me, I might not fit in.

Yet when I stepped out of the train station, and stood around for a bit because big sisters always keep you waiting, she said smiling, “Good, you haven’t changed,” and I knew that all was fine.

The undeniable joy of being reunited was clear. She had missed me just as much as I had missed her, and she’d worried as much as I’d worried about a loss of connection. We caught up, I met her friends and learned her area. The distance that I felt between us, the one that hurt so much, waned. When I left three great days later, it was hard, we cried as we hugged goodbye.

Over time the pain and sadness eased. Each time we were separated I felt sad, but I didn’t cry and neither did she. We’d have a big hug and she’d go back to her life, and I’d go on with mine. And, as time continues to move forward, I think we both find solace in knowing that our bond transcends physical boundaries, and our closeness will endure, regardless of the miles that separate us.

With my sister, I know our relationship goes deeper than the fact we share some DNA

Last month, when I helped her move out of her second-year housing, it felt quite normal and familiar that I hadn’t seen her for a stretch of time.

However, witnessing the sadness she felt leaving her friends, I realised how her life at university was as important as her life in London. It would’ve been easy to be upset and jealous. But I wasn’t. Something about the fact that she’s my sister meant that I knew, no matter how much she loved whatever stage of life she was in, she would also always love me.

In fact, when we were walking away from her uni house, where she’d shared a tearful goodbye with her friends, she expressed how pleased she was that I was there by her side. If our relationship was a Venn diagram, there would be one segment for friendship and one for sisterhood and in that intersection was that interaction right there.

Saying that, I do feel bad for people who are just family with their siblings. Blood relations can only stretch so far. With my sister, I know our relationship goes deeper than the fact we share some DNA.

Right now, Sophie’s getting ready for her year abroad. While I know this will be harder, the time between visits longer and the visits themselves shorter, I’m not feeling too anxious about our separation.

I’ve learnt that the intersection I mentioned earlier, the crossover between sisters and friends, means that even when we’re a thousand miles apart we’ll always be close, for which I am so grateful.

Kate studies English language, History and Philosophy at Woodhouse college. She’s interested in social and political issues, concerning women, her local community and the Black-British community, and demonstrates her interests through volunteering as well as in her art and writing.

Kate studies English language, History and Philosophy at Woodhouse College. She’s interested in social and political issues, concerning women, her local community and the Black-British community, and demonstrates her interests through volunteering as well as in her art and writing.

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