Sisters Janelle and Lynesse Page on how showing up for themselves strengthened their support for one another through a difficult family time.
– KEYS SOULCARE
A hard-won lesson (and some might say, gift) of caring for others is discovering how worthy of self-care we are. For the last 11 years, sisters Janelle and Lynesse Page were the primary caregivers and patient advocates for their mother, Catherine, who was hospitalized and incapacitated following a massive brain injury, aneurism, and stroke.
Inspired by their own caregiving experience — and emboldened by an upbringing filled with love and an emphasis on self-advocacy — the duo decided to pursue nursing, in addition to their other passions. (Janelle, 32, is a certified birth doula; Lynesse, 34, is an actress and director.)
Here are a few rituals they’re leaning into — both to support themselves, and to fully show up for one another.
1. Step Back Before Diving In
“I’m learning to think and slow down — because I don’t! I move fast. I talk fast,” says Lynesse. “And many times, in caring for our Mom, I’ve had to wake up at 4 AM to get to her facilities by 5AM based on a last-minute call. But that’s [actually] helped me notice something about myself — in other moments, I don’t always think things through. When I’m tired, I tend to respond purely off of emotion. Now I step back and tell myself, ‘Ok you’re feeling something. Just think about that first.’ I journal and meditate. I let myself have time alone.”
2. “I’m Not Mom, But I’m Here”
“As an older sister, you sometimes wear the hat of being a second mom,” says Lynesse. “ I tell Janelle, ‘I’m not Mommy. I could never be or live in those shoes. But I do want you to see me as a friend.’ Sometimes, I check on her and think, ‘I’m just another woman, checking in on her homegirl. And I love you. And you’ve got this!’
3. Listen (Even When They Won’t Stop Talking)
“I’m still learning how to be there for Lynesse,” says Janelle. “I can tell when she’s in a moment where she may be spiraling. I’m learning about the parts in between when she gets quiet because she’s very talkative — like, first thing in the morning, when she opens her eyes, she’s singing a song already… So I’m learning to just let her talk, even when she feels like she sounds crazy. I want her to know that I’m here.”
We’re thankful to lightworkers like these for sharing their stories — and loving lessons — with our community.
Please send some extra love to Janelle and Lynesse, who were there for their mother as she transitioned just before this interview was scheduled to take place.
Did anything in the Page sisters story relate to your own journey through caretaking or siblinghood? Share with us in the comments.