I also finished reading the book The Cranes Dance, by Meg Howrey. This is a book about a young woman, a successful dancer at the New York City Ballet, who has a younger sister, who also made it into the company, and who was supremely talented. However, her sister is mentally ill, could not handle the stress of being away for home, and the pressure of being in such a high powered company. While her dancing didn’t suffer, her ability to survive as a person did. Kate, the older sister found herself drawn more and more into taking responsibility for her sister’s well being, serving her delusions and obsession at the same time that she was covering up the severity of her sister’s illness.
The book tells the story of the difficulty that Kate had in separating her own life, and her own being from that of her sister, and how she finally resolves that conflict. This story really hit home for me because I also have a mentally ill sister, and the mixture of love, angIer, responsibility, and concern were familiar.
In the end, as I said, Kate was able to resolve the conflict and to find herself as a separate person. And she did this when she was in her 20’s! Good for her. She was freed, as I was (although much later than my 20’s) from the smothering responsibility to a recognition that she was not responsible for her sister’s illness, that she could not stop it or control it. Then she was free to genuinely care for her, to provide the help and support that she genuinely could give.
It’s a good book, especially for anyone who loves ballet, and wonders about the reality of that life at the top (a very tough one), and anyone who has struggled with the reality of a mentally ill family member. It’s a good read for anyone actually, let me know what you think.