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My Soul Sister

By Pia Camilla Harden

Pia and VivekaI have a soul sister, a terrific funny, sensitive, understanding, warm, deep, thoughtful, smart, strong, determined, beautiful inside and out, soul sister.

She is the only one that I deeply truly trust in this entire world. There is absolutely nobody else that can come even close to what she is to me and what she means to me.

We used to grow up fighting….a lot, a lot.

We fought over cleaning up after we played which we did a lot of, we were extremely competitive of each other, and we just had to outdo each other all the time. We got deeply entwined early on in our life and we had issues with all of this competition.  We used to run distances just to see who would win, and if she did one thing better than me I would have to out do her and vice versa.

I had to tell on her when she refused to help out and I got her in a little bit of trouble, but she drove me so mad when she didn’t help out and I had to do everything. My grand revenge was that when we did one of our favorite common things, like laying relaxing on a bed, tickling each other backs, we decided to count till 100, since I was 2 years older I was the one counting and when she tickled my back I counted to 100 very, very slow and when I did hers I counted very, very fast. Wow, what a satisfying revenge, she didn’t find out until way later when I told her and we had a good laugh about it.

My soul sister’s name is Viveka and she is not my biological sister, she is my cousin.

Her mother is my mother’s sister and when I was born Viveka’s mother Gertrud took care of me cause my own mother couldn’t do it for a while.

Even later I spent more time in the Ekelund’s house than I think I did in my own house. I felt I was somewhat family although I knew it wasn’t completely true. Of course I could never let myself relax into that, but I wished that it was so many times.

Viveka’s father and mother knew somewhat what I was going through in my house but in Sweden it seems like people doesn’t really want to talk about it, or get in other people’s business and although they didn’t know all of it, they opened their house to me as if it was my own, but it wasn’t. I still always asked if I could take something to eat or drink I wouldn’t just go and take it. I just never felt that I completely belonged anywhere with anybody.

It took many years before Viveka and I changed our fighting -competitive bond into our now absolutely-hands-down no disguised relationship.

We were 18 and 16 and I had gotten into a spell of an eating disorder, I was living alone in my apartment in Helsingborg, Sweden and she was studying and playing for a very high league soccer team.

I had invited her to come over and we had dinner, I noticed she watched me eating my salad and one tiny piece of my favorite Swedish chocolate that she had brought.

She said, ’’Pia you always have relied on your looks as your survival, now you have to find yourself and live on that.”

I never forget those words and that is what I spent the years after that trying to do, find, myself.

A tough, grueling ,scary and sometimes devastating lonely journey for me, but again I never forgot those words.

Through my journey of self-discovery, both in Sweden and traveling all over the world Viveka and I had touches of contact, she was building and creating life with her fiancée and then husband.

There were a time of complete cut off between the two of us, we had started to become closer and closer, but there was so much for both of us to figure out in our different life style and choices, and I went through so much inner turmoil that we cut off the contact for five years.

It hurt tremendously, and I was extremely angry yet deep down I understood, that that had to happen, for the both of us.

For five years we didn’t speak, no contact except for me asking her mother and father now and then how she was doing.

She was doing fine, she got married I wasn’t there and I hurt but on the day, I was sitting here in my apartment in NYC and I thought about her. I wished quietly to myself that she would be happy, she had her first daughter Ella and I wasn’t there for that either. I longed to talk to her and send her pretty things.

My anger had turned to only sadness and just plain missing her and to see her daughter.

She was doing fine. I wasn’t. I was still soul searching and going through things like the dark night of the soul.  However I wasn’t competing with her anymore, I was only doing things for myself.

I met my husband and while I was about to move into together packing up my boxes to leave to another apartment.  I came across a letter that I had been writing to her while I was still angry, I use to do that, write all my feelings out and then not send it. When I read it, I thought to myself ,this is enough of a break, I am calling her.

I called her father, my uncle and asked for her number, I had no hesitations I was done and I wanted to reconnect. I wanted to know if she was done doing what she had to do for herself, so when she answered the phone that is exactly what I asked her. “Is this enough of this now?” and she answered, ” yes, it is.”

And off we went talking and congratulating each other on our marriages, her daughter and I got to say all those things I wanted to say. I wanted to meet her daughter so bad.

I was going to come back home to Sweden for a visit and bring Bobby to meet everybody and I was going to meet everybody.

I saw her at a big get-together party at her parent’s house.  I was thrilled to see her and thrilled to meet her husband and daughter, but we only had that afternoon together for some reason and when we had to say goodbye again I was heartbroken. I didn’t realize why, and still I am just guessing that we are so bonded on a soul level that even if my mind doesn’t see all of our relationship, our spirits know it and I feel it.

I cried hard that evening when they left, some people were a little uncomfortable about my reaction and hers.

But it was so real.

I went back to the States and we had contact here and there, nothing strained at all, just building our new-found relationship and to me it grew stronger and stronger.

PiaWhen I had my first daughter, my mother, father ,sister and brother didn’t call to congratulate me, but I knew she was on call so to speak, she was there in spirit and I crawled out of that hospital bed and used my prepaid phone card and called her and talked and cried with her for hours. We even joked about how I had been thinking during my labor that I tried to push out Camilla faster than she ever had pushed out any of her now three daughters.  It didn’t happened, she definitely beat me , but it kept me going even if I had one point crossed my legs and said “Enough of this!’’ and asked for a C-section. I didn’t get one. Yet we had such a good hearty laugh about it, even now our competition between each other helped me and instead of frustration it brought a lot of humor to my 42 hours of labor.

When my father past away, I went to Sweden for the funeral and my daughter Camilla was 6 months old, and nothing felt more complete when I handed Camilla over to Viveka and introduced them to each other.  I hadn’t had the experience before that to hand my daughter over to someone really close to me from my side of the family and when I did it, tears welled up and I was so grateful to God for the experience.

VivekaI am grateful to God, to the universe and to Viveka, a person in my own blood-line that cares about me and that knows me, really knows me and more importantly that listens and wants to understand me. Sometimes she does know more about me than I do. One human being in my life that is the first one I think of in sad and happy situations. This one person in my life that makes me feel that I am okay when everything seems crazy around me. I have always felt that in my life I have never had that solid wall of support behind me. Some people have that solid wall of people support them, some people don’t. But I have one. One rock and that is her, my soul sister Viveka and I am and will always be a rock for her when she needs me. It will be my wish that my two daughters will be this for one another one day when they grow up.

I love you Viveka, Thank you!

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