I recently spoke to someone who was standing in the shoes my sister stood in two years ago. This person is pregnant and her sister had just given birth to a baby with a fatal defect. She contacted me because she wasn't sure how to approach the situation. She thought her sister might have talked to me about it. I thought the best way to help her was to send her the 2 letters I wrote to my sister. One right after I found out she was pregnant and the other when Sydney was 10 months old. After I sent them, I reread them. It is amazing how reading your own writing can take you back. I could feel each emotion as if it were present day. It made me start thinking too. So of course, I have to write. I am going to post the letters I wrote to my sister first and then add what I have just written last. At one time I guess they were personal between she and I, but now I have shared so much of my feelings and grief I think it is only right to add them!
I normally wouldn't write this kind of thing in an email, but with the craziness of the next few days I figure it will be more accessible than a card. I want you to know how happy I am for you that you are pregnant. I know you haven't talked about it in front of me, and i want you to know that it is okay if you do. I can't begin to understand how you are feeling, but I want you to know that it is going to be okay. I am going to be okay. I will love your baby, and will hold your baby. This baby will be just as important in my life as the boys are. Whether it pukes on me or hits me, or cries for hours...I am going to be there for him or her. I will admit that it will be hard. Being so close in age to Connor will be a reminder of what he could have been. I think at first it will be harder and then as time goes on it will be a nice reminder, something I can have as a tangible memory of where Connor would be in his life. This situation is not what anyone wanted, and we are dealing with it the best way we can. For now, it is to be happy. I am thankful everytime he kicks, and everytime my belly button goes a little more away. I want to share these things with you and I want you to share them with me. I don't want you to ever feel like you can't be excited, or happy....because you should be. Like I said, I don't know what you are going through and i am sure you feel a certain weight on your shoulders carrying so close to where I am, but we will be okay. I want you to buy things, and show me things and not be afraid of hurting me. I have somehow found the strength to get me this far and I have faith in God that I will continue to do so. I just wanted you to know how I feel about all of this, and that I am so happy for you. I love you.
This is what I wrote when she was about 10 months old...
I will never forget the day you told me you were pregnant. Sitting on my couch you were scared to let me know. As soon as you did I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know it was hard for you to be pregnant along side me. Dealing with the emotions of carrying a healthy child is hard enough on its own, not to mention adding me carrying Connor. I have to admit that when we were both pregnant I dreaded everything about your pregnancy. I was afraid that I would spend the rest of my life being saddened by the child you had, who was so close in age to Connor. I was scared to hold her, scared to see her, scared to think of the future with her in it and Connor in Heaven.
All of that changed the day you had her. There was no place on earth I wanted to be, but at the hospital. As soon as I saw her I wanted to hold her. As soon as I held her she was in my heart. Watching her grow and change has been the complete opposite of everything I had feared. Allowing myself to love her as Sydney and be her Aunt Rara has been so rewarding. Instead of making me sad it has made me happy. She has been such a joy and a light in our lives. Every holiday outfit, every family dinner she has brought such happiness to me. I never miss a chance to hold her, to hug her, to wipe her nose (over and over and over). She is a little miracle in my book and has brought me such joy over the past 10 months.
I just wanted to let you know that I love being an Aunt to your kids...crazy times and all. And that Sydney will always have a special place in my heart. I think she was one of the first things after we lost Connor that started to help me heal. She let me know I could be me again.
I know she is only a baby....but someday we will have to let her know!
Thanks for everything you do and for letting me be such a big part of your kids lives, and for being such a great part of ours.
Now as I sit and write this my niece is almost 2. She is a big girl. Walking, talking, and doing everything on her own. She is a little bruiser and loves hugs and kisses. She is the baby of our whole family and she is the one who helped heal everyone's heart a little. I can't say enough about her. She is her own person. She is funny and crazy. She will run through the store and flash a smile that makes you smile back. She can pull about anything off whether it be covering her mother in puke in the middle of McDonald's, escaping through the doggie door or swimming with a vest and water wings completely by herself at the age of 1. She never ceases to amaze me. She is such a big girl and has grown bigger than any of the others at her age. She is close to the size Anna was at 4! Sydney and Wyatt are the bad news bears. Getting in to everything and anything. She can make you laugh, warm your heart and as Anna will tell you make you hold your nose with her "pukey" smell at times. She is a true gift from God.
As I reflect back on her birth and her life thus far. I can't help but to think of what my sister has always told me. That Sydney knows she came after Connor, she knows she can do no wrong and that everyone is wrapped around her chubby little fingers. As she gets older I find myself comparing her to Connor less. I guess it is because in my mind Connor kind of stopped aging as an infant. I find it hard to find bits of what may be his personality in an older toddler, because to me he is a baby forever. I am so blessed that I have Wyatt to watch grow with Sydney. Just as I had originally pictured Connor and Syd together, I get to watch Syd and Wyatt. Bears that they are playing and screeching back and forth in chaotic harmony! Two years ago I didn't know if I could hold her, now I have to bribe her to come hold me! Two years ago I wasn't sure how I would feel when I saw her. Now I feel joy, just as I did the day she was born. Watching her grown and change has been such a gift. I am so excited to watch her grow up (and I have to admit I am looking forward to the preteen years between she and my sister!) Happy Birthday Sydney. I hope you always feel the love that you bring us each day!