It feels like everytime I say their names, I brace myself. I say them, and then flinch-wondering what will swing my way. I post something on facebook, then immediately delete it. I mention them in a conversation that's NOT about death or pregnancy or baby loss and I slur my words, trying to move on to the next topic in such a hurry.
"She really needs to just move on."
"She needs to get over it."
"She must be depressed."
These are, of course, what I imagine they're thinking, instead of what they actually say. Well, they probably actually say it to each other.
I want to talk about them ALL THE TIME. I want to go outside and SCREAM their names. I want everyone to always remember that they were here. They were inside of me, and then they were born, and then they wrapped their little fingers around mine, and they EXISTED.
I think of them all day, long, still. Almost 3 years later. I wonder when it changes. I wonder when a day will go buy, and I'll be making dinner and I'll realize that I haven't thought of them.
Do you guys remember that I am my mom's rainbow baby? That my sister, Mary, was stillborn over 30 years ago, in between my sister and me? I want to ask my mom. I want to ask her when it stopped. When she stopped thinking of my sister every day, all day long. But things were so different with her. She grieved SO differently than me. She also had a totally different experience than most of us-she never got to see her, or hold her. She was whisked away. When she arrived home from the hospital, my grandmothers had gone over and taken down the nursery, taking the stuff to an undisclosed place. There was a statue of the Virgin Mary in my house, though, all my life. I remember it very clearly when I was a little girl. It moved with us, and with my mom once she and my father got divorced.
I always wondered a little about the statue. My mom is Catholic, and went to church every Sunday, but we didn't have any other religious figurines, or bibles, or anything in our house. But I never thought to ask. I recently found out that that statue is in memory of my sister, Mary. That my mom got it as a gift after she passed away and it is all she has. The ONLY momento. No hospital bracelet, no blanket, no lock of hair, no photos. So she did what she had to do-she chose something. A symbol.
But when was I told that I had another sister that had died? I don't know. How was I told? I don't remember.
Somehow, my mother has weaved Mary's existence into our lives.
This is what we do. We are expert seamstresses. We weave in and out of grief. We take the needle and pull the thread through, trying our best to wrap up and pull in those memories. Their names. Their entire, short, existence.
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