“Sisters by Choice,” April 25, 2017

There she was, my best friend in the great state of Nevada, the kindred soul that I call my “oasis in the desert,” beaming up at me from a photo she posted on Facebook with two women she’s known even longer than she’s known me.

Linda might not say she likes them better than she likes me. But I can’t blame her if she does.

They’re her sisters. Blood kin. They’ve known each other forever. They grew up together. Skinned their knees on the same rocks. Dried their backsides on the same towels. Buried their faces in the same pillows. And fought, laughed and loved each other in everything and nothing. They know each other’s stories and played major roles in most of them. And three years ago, when they lost the mother they adored, they held each other close, dried each other’s tears and promised to get together again soon.

It’s hard to forge a stronger bond than that.

I know the feeling. I have a sister, too. Mine lives in South Carolina. Linda’s live in Kansas.

It’s a long way from Vegas to South Carolina or Kansas. We don’t get to see our sisters as often as we wish we could.

Maybe that’s why Linda and I have become so close. We live a few miles apart. When one of us calls the other to say, “Wanna meet for lunch?” the answer is usually, “I’m on my way!”

Our husbands are friends, too, so when the four of us get together, they don’t seem to mind that Linda and I talk nonstop and ignore them. But our friendship is far more than just one of convenience. Spending time together helps to fill the void that comes from missing our blood sisters. It also allows us to tell our stories.

Ten years ago, when my husband’s job took us from the coast of Northern California to the desert outside Las Vegas, we left behind, not only our grown children (my three and his two) but a wealth of friends we’d known and loved for years.

Good friends can never be replaced. If you move far away from them, you stay in touch as best you can. And when you get together, you pick up where you left off. But at the same time, if you’re lucky, you make new friends to share your new life.

More than lucky, I was blessed to be befriended by Linda. We met through our husbands who worked together. From the start, we felt a connection, as if we knew things about each other we had no way of knowing.

Turns out, we have lots in common. We grew up in small towns in families that struggled to make ends meet, but always had “enough.” Our values are remarkably similar. We care about the same things. And though we can’t prove it, we like to brag that we’re the only two women in the Las Vegas Valley who ever used a real outhouse.

Mostly, we like to laugh. And we love to tell stories _ stories about growing up, raising our children, becoming who we are.
In the past 10 years, we’ve spent hours every few weeks or so telling each other our stories. And we still have more to tell.

Sharing stories can turn strangers into friends. It can also turn friends into sisters.

Linda and I aren’t sisters by birth. We’re sisters by choice. I have one birth sister and a whole family of chosen ones.

I hope you do, too. You can never have too many sisters.

The photo Linda posted is a keeper: Three women of a certain age with the same smiles, same eyes, same history and same joy at being together. In their faces are the same little girls they once were, and will forever be, holding onto each other, come what may _ and having too much fun.

I wish you could see them.

And I really wish I could’ve been in that photo with them.


  1. Carolyn Jones says

    Just discovered your column in my home town Muncie StarPress newspaper while visiting some of my daughter’s and grandchildren and great grandchildren last month! Was so moved by your column about your brother, April 13, I brought is home with me so I could write you at your email address! Decided to look you up on FB, (which I’m on every morning while I enjoy my coffee and Boost) and found this and your column about sister’s! I have a twin, who lives in Richmond, IN, where were were born 85 years ago and raised. I have six daughters and a step daughter and step son, so I’m very much in tune with the sister thing.1 I moved here to Bolingbrook, IL in 2013, with my youngest daughter, after my husband died. I met a woman at church that has become my younger “sister”! I left a bunch of “sister’s” in Florida, where I lived with my late husband! Miss them all!!! I’m emailing you my thoughts on your April column!

  2. Sweet….

  3. I am blessed to have Barb, my sister of my heart. My three biological sisters are all so different,and I do love them. Barb and I connect on a different level. One of shared hopes, and interests. In many ways we are closer than sisters. She is the sister I chose.

  4. Kate Sciacca says

    I’d heard the phrase often… “you’re my brother from another mother!” But recently I heard “you’re my sister from another mister.” ?
    You are blessed with dear family and friends, always grateful that you share them with us,

  5. Love this articles and I really love my chosen sisters.

  6. Marian Rudolph Nelson says

    Thank you so very much for this one, Sharon. Your “sister” Ginny Heitz , is one of my book group “sisters” in Napa, and I’m one of those that you met at our book group meeting many years ago, We’ve been “sister friends” forever. You and I were new widows at the time and I have now lost my darling second husband (doesn’t get any easier!). I’m packing to move back to Napa, to those dear sisters, because they are the only ones Ive ever had, and I know they’ll keep my heart warm.

  7. Naomi Humphrey says

    For some unknown reason they did not put your article in the standard times paper last Sunday. I surely missed it so I decided to look you up online and I’m assuming this is the story that should have been there. I enjoyed hearing about your family and all your travels and my husband does too because I read them to him. He never tells me to stop so I assume he enjoys them. Keep up the good work and your encouraging words.

  8. I had five biological sisters,but sadly all of them are gone except for one. We are close and I am so thankful for her. She helps me through this valley of caregiving for my husband as she did the same for her husband until he passed last year. I am blessed with several “friend sisters” who mean the world to me. We need our sisters!

  9. Elaine Mccaffery says

    Love this story! Every week I look forward to reading your columns, and just when I think the stories can’t get any better; they always do. Thanks for your stories. Hope your foot is better, and I hope you’re having a good week.

  10. Thank you for your stories! I look forward to them every week!!

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