A Sisterhood Evolves from Hate to Love

Sisters Janaki Symon and Melissa Wilbur i i

Sisters Janaki Symon (left) and Melissa Wilbur at a StoryCorps booth in Santa Monica, Calif. StoryCorps hide caption

itoggle caption StoryCorps
Sisters Janaki Symon and Melissa Wilbur

Sisters Janaki Symon (left) and Melissa Wilbur at a StoryCorps booth in Santa Monica, Calif.

StoryCorps

Melissa Wilbur and Janaki Symon, both in their 60s, are close. But the sisters' childhood relationship was very different.

Melissa says she "never particularly" liked her younger sister. "I was highly jealous of you. No matter how bad you were or how much trouble you put our parents through, they still always talked about you. You were the one they were proud of, and I resented that."

"I just hated you," Janaki says. "There wasn't anything about you that I could stand. You were actually able to do things that I couldn't do. You did well in school, teachers liked you. You would poke me, and I remember stabbing you with a fork."

Now, Melissa says, she can't picture herself without her sister.

Janaki says that after their mother died, "I was planning to make amends to you .... I wanted to with all my heart, and I just couldn't do it. I didn't quite know how."

But something happened to finally bring them together.

"I remember exactly the moment that I fell in love with you," Janaki says. "You put your arm around me, and you gave me this spontaneous hug and kiss. I went, 'Oh, my God.' It was as if the last barrier between us was gone."

Melissa adds, "Something in each of us didn't want to give up on our relationship. And I'm so grateful because I have a sister who I really adore, and I am one of the luckiest people I know. I love you."

"I love you, too, and I'm very, very glad that you are my sister," Janaki says.

Produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

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Listening Is an Act of Love

A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project

by Dave Isay

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