(*Thoughts from our missionary’s sixteen-year-old sister.*)
My brother and I are really close and always have been. We just get each other! I know his raised eyebrow when he’s trying to get me riled up and how he gets really, really quiet when he’s upset. Truthfully, we have NEVER fought. Ever. I know, sounds weird, right? We’ve just always been close.
We are only a couple of years apart, which means I got to go to early morning seminary with him for a year—basically, we competed all year to see who could win at Cahoots, seminary attendance, scores on assessments, pretty much everything!
My brother has wanted to go on a mission ever since he was old enough to know what a mission was! I am so proud of what an awesome person my brother has become. I’m proud to be his sister.
But, as the time for him to leave on his mission grew closer, I became afraid that I would lose the special relationship I had with him. How many brothers can you just spend hours curled up in a pile of blankets talking to about everything and anything? I know how seriously lucky I am and I did not want to lose that relationship!
About a year ago, he got his mission call. I was so proud he made the choice to spend the next two years of his life sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ! But this also meant that I wouldn’t be able to see him, all six foot five of him, for two years! … except for face timing twice a year (on Mother’s Day and Christmas). Yeah, there are weekly emails, but it is not the same as just talking after a long day of school.
Then came the day when he left for his mission. I will be completely honest, I was a mess.
I couldn’t stop crying, torn between how proud I was of him and how much I just wanted him to stay home so nothing would change!
Luckily, earlier that year, I met a friend at a youth activity named Charity. She is slightly older than I am and we just clicked! Charity is one of the most generous people I know! Her family even drove almost two hours, just to listen to my brother’s farewell talk in Sacrament!
Charity’s brother had just returned home from his mission. She shared how difficult it was for her to say goodbye to him when he had left two years earlier.
The day that I said goodbye to my brother at the airport, I knew I could count on Charity’s support. Seriously, she is one of the most nurturing and non-judgemental people I know!
I skyped her when I was absolutely sobbing! My face was blotchy and red. My nose was running and I was too much of a mess to go out in public. But, Charity just let me cry. It was so comforting to me, just talking to her.
She said that having my best friend gone doesn’t become emotionally easier, you just slip into a new normal of sorts.
Charity was 100% correct! I still sometimes have moments where I miss my brother so much that it hurts, but I have fallen into a new normal. I love to wake up to his missionary emails on Monday mornings! My new favorite holidays have suddenly become Mother’s Day and Christmas! 😉
One of the times when I missed my brother so much it hurt was my birthday. In the past, he always made me the dorkiest cards! They were also some of the sweetest, too! Not having him there when I turned sixteen was hard, I missed my big brother.
Then, a couple days later, I got a letter from him! Just for me! He wished me a happy birthday, and teased me, with his usual sense of humor, about dating. It was a bit of love for his sister from afar!
Life continues to move on.
This summer I went to EFY (Especially For Youth). While there, I made so many friends!
One of the girls and I became really close! Paige and I definitely clicked!
As we headed back to our rooms, the final night of EFY, I found her crying!
She confided in me that she was thinking about her two older brothers. Both of them had just gotten their mission calls and are heading out on missions in just a couple weeks!
She is really close to them, just like I am to my brother.
It was like coming full circle. Now I would be to my new friend Paige what Charity had been to me—a friend who truly understood and who loved me during one of the most difficult times in my life. There are so many of us siblings who miss their missionaries!
I tried my best to comfort her, as I let her know my brother was out serving a mission too. It wasn’t easy to share my feelings with her. I mean, I still miss him every day!
But, as I shared with her, she shared with me. We both left that conversation feeling compassion and pride for our brothers! It just showed me how we much need each other in hard times!
Having my brother on his mission has been one of the most difficult experiences in my life! But, I am so proud of who my brother is choosing to become!
He is becoming his best self, and it makes me want to be my best self, and to help those around me, whether it be with a similar trial to my own, or a completely different one!
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference.
Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of almost 20 years.