When I was young, I listened to everything my sister, Maria told me. She was 4 years older than me and we shared a twin bed until we were in our teens, believe it or not. I used to make banana sandwiches with white bread, butter and banana slices topped with sugar. “Don’t put sugar on that. You’ll get sugar diebeetees,” she proclaimed. I didn’t know what sugar diebeetees was but it sounded bad, so I downgraded my recipe to exclude sugar. Could this have been the beginning of my interest in health and nutrition? At 10 years of age, my sister was no doctor, but her influence definitely made me more careful about how much sugar I put on my cereal and other foods. As it turns out, millions of people die every year from complications related to diabetes and high blood glucose.

Maria, in her infinite wisdom, also taught me that if you happen to pee in your pants a bit, you can turn your underwear inside out and wear them again the next day! We both thought that was a great idea.


We used to like to pretend we were two girls called Clappy and Janie. I was Clappy and Maria was Janie. I thought Clappy was a pretty name. We would roll ourselves up in the curtains and disappear into another world. It was a world where Clappy and Janie had it all going on, pissy pants and all! They lived an affluent life, they wore jewelry and were beautiful. In my imagination, Clappy had long silky hair, whereas mine was short and boyish. Of course, Clappy thought she was more beautiful than Janie, and vice versa.

In her teens, Maria became more particular about how she liked things done. She told me things like how to cut the milk bag and how to organize things in an otherwise disorganized household. She also told me not to kiss boys with cold sores because they might actually be chancres caused by syphilis. She then proceeded to tell me about sexually transmitted diseases. By the time I was 12 or 13, I had a whole bank of knowledge about things nobody else would have taught me. Thanks, Maria!

As Maria moved into her teen years and young adulthood, she liked me less. We fought as teenaged sisters often do. Maria was inclined to be moody and was more often in a foul mood than a good one. One day we were fighting in our room. I’m not sure about what. It might have been about an article of clothing. My mother had just gotten home from her first teaching job. She didn’t have a car then, so she got a ride home from my father’s cousin, Charlie, who my mother invited in for a cup of tea. They walked in during our fight and heard Maria scream at me, “Fuck off!” My mother later told me about the look on Charlie’s face that day, and how she nearly died of embarrassment. I still laugh when I think about that.

Once we were in our late 20’s and 30’s, Maria and I became close again. Amazingly, Maria was an exceptionally astute judge of character and much wiser than she ever gave herself credit for. In her own life, she never trusted her judgement. Somehow, she could never do for herself what she could do for others. I could run any problem by her and she would have a very sensible solution. She was often the voice of reason when I needed a friend to talk to. I miss having that person in my life that I can tell anything to and receive sound, non-intrusive advice. That’s really hard to come by.

Maria has been gone for more than 11 years now. The beauty of genetics, I guess, is that physically, she will always be a part of me.

I hear her voice when I laugh. I see her face when I look in the mirror and I have all the memories of the banter we would engage in, sharing our raunchy sense of humour. We were equally outrageous. I still enjoy shocking people with my inappropriate remarks. We both always liked the honesty. Neither of us could ever endure the bullshit of pretentious people for very long.

To be honest, all of my siblings have influenced me in some way. We had some tough times, but I like to look back on the happy times. Too many people waste their lives dwelling on past miseries. If I had to give some sage advice to you, my friends, it would be to focus on the thoughts and memories that feel good to you. Any thought that feels bad will never serve you, whereas good feeling thoughts always make your day.


Renée Cormier
Renée Cormier
Renée Cormier has had a long-standing passion for business and for helping others be the best they can be. It is her mission to show people how changing their thinking changes all areas of their lives. She is a certified coach and facilitator who shows you how to move forward and achieve success. Renée happily shares her business and personal development expertise through a variety of training and coaching programs that create unsurpassed value for her clientele. Would you like some help setting goals and getting things done better and faster than ever before? Does the talk in your head sometimes get in your way? Renée has a proven and guaranteed method for helping you change your thought habits from negative to positive. Empower yourself to have more positive relationships, better business and career opportunities, and a happier life overall. Access unlimited coaching services for a flat fee! Renée is also a published author with additional expertise in public relations, marketing communications, adult education, sales, leadership, and employee engagement. Renée is able to leverage her varied experience to support her clients in multiple ways. There is nothing like being able to see clearly through multiple lenses.

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  1. Renee, thank you for sharing this story about you and your sister, Maria. It made me laugh and touched my heart. I don’t have a sister, but I do have two older brothers who mean the world to me – even though they continue to tease me into my late 40’s! Recently, the younger of my two older brothers had a very close call with his health. I am grateful that he is still with us, and it certainly gave me perspective.

    Thanks for this touching reminder today to cherish our loved ones and for reminding me to be present. It is a gift that I needed today.

    • Thanks for the sweet comment, Laura. So glad you liked my post. Yes, family relationships should be treasured.

  2. I enjoyed your story very much, Renee – appreciations!. She sounds like she influenced you in many ways and you had a deep sense of respect for Maria. It makes me think fondly of those surrogate sisters I have had in my life who have come and gone and that we shared of each other at different times of our lives together.

  3. Renee Cormier, what a beautiful article. I felt the love you have for your sister in the words you wrote. A big “Thank You” to Dennis Pitocco for sharing it in The Women of Facebook Blog weekend so we could enjoy it and meet you. And, your shared Life-truth is so important- “Too many people waste their lives dwelling on past miseries. If I had to give some sage advice to you, my friends, it would be to focus on the thoughts and memories that feel good to you. Any thought that feels bad will never serve you, whereas good feeling thoughts always make your day.” Thank you for the reminder. Sharing.

  4. Renee, this is a tender and obviously very personal article. Siblings can fight but they should never stop loving or talking to each other. I love your advice! Thank you Renne for writing and sharing your article. Suffice it to say it hit(s) home.

    • It’s very tough to lose a sibling. We expect to outlive our parents, but not so much our siblings. Much love to you, Lynn. Thanks for the comment.