I thought of you today.
That should come as no surprise, of course, as you’re on my mind quite often for someone I never had the opportunity to meet.
The thing is, although we’ve never met, somehow I feel like I know you.
We’re connected, you and I. Connected in the way sisters are.
I thank God that mom entrusted me with your memory; knowing you exist is a gift I treasure.
Sometimes I imagine what you would look like if you were here today...long brown hair, our mother’s warm skin tone, a smile to light up the room.
You’d be twenty-eight this year, just a year younger than me.
Do they celebrate up in Heaven? I hope so because you deserve to be celebrated. I hope there’s a cake with twenty-eight candles and your name — Marissa — spelled out in beautiful purple lettering.
I know you’re up there with grandpa, the two of you hand in hand. I know it when I look out at the woods he adored, at the rays of sunlight cleverly peaking through the leafy branches, casting playful shadows on the tall trunks.
You’re together, looking down and smiling, willing us to do the same.
Mom misses you both so much.
I wish I could ease the ache she feels, take some of her hurt, carry the weight of her broken heart.
It doesn’t work that way though, so I’ve begun to learn now that I’m a mother, too.
I can carry the memory of you though. I can carry it alongside her so she knows she’s not alone in the remembering, in the feeling, in the knowing.
It’s been twenty-eight years since she had to say goodbye to you, but time is only a reminder of that which was lost.
You’re not lost though, are you? You’re safe in His Kingdom, watching over us from afar.
Thank you for those special moments you’ve made your presence known. Those moments granted by God Himself.
Like my first day of college — I anxiously walked into that first class, finding a seat at a desk in the middle of the room. You were there, weren’t you? Grasping my hand, reassuring me I wasn’t alone.
Or when a cool breeze blows by ever so slightly, bringing with it the faint whisper of affirmation.
My sister, you’re a beautiful angel, and you are so very loved.
One day we will meet. Yes, we most certainly will, and what a perfect meeting it will be.
Until then you’ll live in our thoughts, in our tears, in our words, and always, always in our hearts.
For though you were gone much too soon, you will never be forgotten. You couldn’t possibly be.
Your sister on earth
*This piece originally appeared on the author’s blog page Motherhood Awry.