I saw a friend post on social media about a sister she had lost and how her daughter now shares this sister’s middle name. This relegated me to a sobbing mess at 5:45 in the morning. I too lost my sister; I too have a daughter with my sister’s middle name; I too raise daughters without my older sister here to help.
It doesn’t matter how long it’s been, but I suffer every time I think of my sister. I still sob and scream and cry that she isn’t here to help me raise my girls. We were supposed to do this together. Our children were supposed to be cousins. We were supposed to get pedicures and grab lunch together. I wasn’t supposed to do this alone.
These feelings leave me heartbroken and devastated. How would life have been different if she had been here to hold my babies and kiss their chubby cheeks? How would life have been different if I hadn’t lost her two weeks before delivery? How can my children love my family and not know who she was? I can barely say her name in front of them without breaking down. How do I tell them about her?
And the more my kids learn to talk, the harder it becomes. They will sit by baby V and hold her hand, caress her face and say, “Sister.” I usually have to excuse myself because it hits such a deep wound. Did my sister love me as much as my girls love their baby sister? Did she look at me the way they look at her? If she loved me, why did she leave me?
Raising three daughters without my sister has been devastating. I watch three sisters love each other every day. I only had one sister, and she’s gone now. I am simultaneously thankful and envious that my girls have each other.
There are moments where I miss my sister so much I feel like I can’t breathe. My chest tightens, my throat constricts, and I find myself gasping for air. I think these are the only moments where I can truly comprehend that she’s gone, and she’s never coming back. I will never hug her again, and she will never know my children. Thankfully these moments happen farther and farther apart, and I am beginning to remember her with fondness instead of pain.
This has been the most unfathomable experience, where most of the time I’m ok, but then something will trigger this visceral response of breathlessness. A post, a picture, a memory, and it feels as if I just found out she’s gone.
I try to allow myself to process and be thankful for the moments we had together, but sometimes that’s impossible. Sometimes the only thing I crave is more time, not some paltry acceptance of coerced appreciation. Yesterday was a day like this, and I pray today is better.