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Trading Places

When I was a younger girl, my mother told me I didn’t speak until I was almost 4 years old. This was because my big sister did all the talking for me.  If I wanted something, all I’d have to do is point at it, and Cathy would be right there. She always knew what I wanted or needed… even if it was a mystery to everyone else.

As we grew up, we naturally grew apart. There’s a 4 year difference in our ages, and to kids that seems like an eternity.  She became popular and a good student.  I became her opposite. She became perky, friendly, and interested in pleasing people. I was introverted, had few friends, and saw the world in a negative light.

Like I said, we were opposites.

As we grew older, Cathy decided to leave college to pursue a family. She was the home schooler, church going, mother figure I could never be. I chose college, and even after I was married, I chose school and my career rather than being “tied down” to one place. Though my children knew I loved them, I will admit they were jealous of their home-schooled cousins… there aren’t many bullies in a home school…

Because of my negative view of the world, I set out on a crusade to change it. I worked in shelters, juvenile detentions, prisons, and with truants and dropouts… always seeking an answer to society’s ills. Cathy knew of our sick society, so she chose to keep her children close to her… I let my children out into the world so they could change it with me.

I remember eating at a restaurant one day (probably 20 years ago now). Cathy and I were eating Mexican that day, and she received the wrong meal.  She said she would eat it anyways, and I instead waved down the waiter and made him take her meal back.  She looked at me and said, “That’s the difference between us. I would sit here and eat something I didn’t order… just to keep the peace. While you will stand up and call out to the server.”

She was the mothering type, the peacekeeper, the one that would accept what she was given and never complain. I was socially motivated, sometimes angry, and always seeking more.

Over the years, my big sister has changed. It slowly came on when her family started facing its own trials and tribulations. She learned to stand up and shout when it was necessary. She began saying NO. She’d taken care of me, my mother, my grandparents, her own 6 children, and it was time to say STOP!! And she did. Her children attended public school, she got a job, and was putting her managerial skills to work for pay.

However, if I needed an answer to something, she was always the one I could depend on for the answer. And if she needed some heavy lifting, she knew she could count on me.

Then came July 27, 2013… That was the day my whole way of life came to a SCREAMING, PAINFULLY SCREECHING HALT!

Everything I was sure of in my life ceased to exist.

My child was murdered.

By someone I would have once tried to help…

I remember planning Corey’s funeral at my sister Kris’ house. Cathy walked outside, and hadn’t returned in quite a while.  When I looked for her, she was pacing up and down the curbside, wringing her hands, praying out loud, and crying.

I’d never seen that side of her before.

This scared, sad, angry, worried… helpless woman was a stranger to me.

She was confused because she didn’t have the answers.

I couldn’t just point at something and have her understand what I needed.

We couldn’t wave down a waiter.

The terrible world that I’d known all along had finally come for us.

We didn’t know what to do.

So we held hands, and did it together.

I’ve become the home body.  I don’t go out if I don’t have to.

But Cathy? She’s gone to the civilian police academy, she’s been on our board of directors, and she’s soaked up everything about victims, advocacy, grief, and anything else she could get her hands on!

She was working in a capacity with the local courts, and she began getting more and more involved in what was going on. How court was handled, and evidence was gathered.

It’s as if she never wants to be put in that position again (not knowing what to do). But not only has she come so far outside of her comfort zone, she raised her skill set so high, she is now the Victim’s Advocate in a local police department.

My sweet, soft spoken, naïve sister… has a police car now!! How amazing is that?? I couldn’t be more proud if she was my own daughter!

Her daughter even told her she was a bad ass!

Yes, sis.  You are a bad ass! I am so proud of you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me throughout my life… except maybe those years I mentioned where we didn’t get along… we’ll just ignore those.

Michelle Metje

One thought to “Trading Places”

  • Chelle

    October 17, 2017 at 7:54 PM

    Lots of tears through this! Love you two…. three… SOOOO very much…. <3 <3 <3


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