Because she inspired me

My little sister Suzanne and I were always very different…right from childhood. She looked like my mother, blonde and very pale – she always hid from the sun. I was brunette and tanned easily, just like my dad. Her hair was kinky curly (she hated it), while mine was straight. She lived in a world of her own creation and got into trouble at school and at home. I was the “good child” with straight A’s who rarely was cause for concern. And boy we hated each other…

According to Suzanne, life came easy to me…anything I wanted I would always get, while she would struggle so hard, “felt stupid” and would always come up short. Her greatest joy was wreaking havoc on my “perfect little world”. So I separated myself as far away from her as I could – physically, emotionally – so many of the choices I made were to distance myself and “not be like her” in any way I could.

Suzanne had a very difficult time growing up – and though I was part of it – I know there was quite a bit I did not really see until years later. She struggled with drugs and attempted suicide when she was still a teenager, and depression for a number of years after that, apparently always hating herself more than she hated me.

And just when we all thought she didn’t have anything left to give – Suzanne found a new path to follow. To our amazement she chose EMS – to save a life instead of taking her own- she wanted to make a difference. And not only did this “little girl” work as one of the EMS crews that helped secure the scene after the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics, but this same girl who thought she was “stupid” invented the device I blogged about earlier that will one day make it safe for all little kids to ride on ambulances. (…I read this and remember why we teach children that “stupid” is a bad word)

Several years ago Suzanne had to quit EMS. Every day since then, like many of us she struggles with questions of am I good enough…smart enough…am I deserving…can I still make a difference… and every day no matter what anyone tells her, I don’t know if she believes it.

I grew up not wanting to be like her…but I would be half the person I am today without her. So much of what I am, what I have and what I do that I am proud of is because of her. And I hope someday she reads this, because I want her to know, if I make a difference with my life…that will be because of her too.

About the Author

Stefanie Zucker is President and co-founder of Pediatric Medical and Managing Director and co-founder of Axios Partners, a strategy consulting firm. After a number of years spent researching the safety issues associated with transporting children on ambulances she became a child health safety advocate and formed Pediatric Safety with a goal of creating a world-wide movement of parents and caregivers inspired to protect the health and safety of kids. Stefanie is a member of the PedSafe Team


4 Responses to “Because she inspired me”

  1. Jim Love says:

    Very touching, thanks for posting.

  2. Christy says:

    Wow. What an amazing and touching post. I sure hope your sister reads this one day. I like you don’t care for the word “stupid” either. As a teacher that word is not allowed in our classroom at all. Please share this post with her! Just stopping by for SITS Saturday share fest.

  3. Laurie says:

    That’s a happy ending to your story. I had an addicted brother. He wasn’t as fortunate and died in a car accident when he was 18 years old. I often wonder what life would have been like had he lived. Thanks for sharing.

    • Stefanie Zucker sazucker says:

      Thanks Laurie. I am so sorry to hear about your brother. And it could SO easily have been Suzanne! Life is really strange sometimes. Thanks for sharing your brother’s story with me too! I’m sending a hug your way and a thank you for stopping by!

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