Throughout my teens, things slowly began to change, as the sisters began to spend more time together. But what really drew the family close was the death of the oldest sister, my Aunt Jayne, who lived in a convent out of town. (She was a Catholic sister.) My mom and the 3 aunts from this area all traveled to the convent and spent weeks there. My mom actually wound up staying the entire summer, spending 2 months living in a semi-cloistered convent after my aunt Jayne begged her to stay. Jayne passed on young, in her early 50's, from cancer. Despite the fact that she had lived away her entire adult life, doing only what Mother Superior allowed, her death left a hole in the family, and the wagons circled close.
Since then, the family has become close. I can call my aunts when I need to talk or need help. They support one another, call each other, and text each other non-stop. It's still rather novel after growing up without this side of the family being close, but it's amazing all the same.
These last few months, the signs of this closeness have become obvious. When I got my stomach bug last week and both my parents were at work, I was trapped in my house with nothing to drink (I normally only drink water or a very heavy vegetable juice blend that sounded disgusting). So I called one of the aunts, who was able to pick me up Sprite and drop it off on my doorstep. This same aunt has talked me through the process of unemployment after I lost my job a few months ago. She's been a rock lately.
I'm now facing a spinal surgery this fall and there's a good chance part of the procedures will occur while my parents are gone on vacation. Since they are normally the ones who come over to help me around the house, I thought this overlap would leave me panicked. But.. No. I'm a bit worried, but I know I have my family. Couldn't ask for more.