“Mama, I wish Emmy stayed alive. I want her to go to school with me. We miss everyone who goes to heaven, but especially a sister.”
Probably not the typical dialog happening between a mama and her 4-year-old on their way to preschool drop-off.
Except in our car...this is a pretty normal conversation.
And it didn’t stop there…
“Emmy, I miss you and love you all the time. I’m so happy you and Lakyn are my sisters, and I love you so much.”
“Mama, I just said a prayer to Emmy because I love her. Every day I think about Emmy.”
Did I mention this kid is four?
As I reached for a Kleenex from the glovebox, she asked what I was doing. The tears don’t make sense to her yet. She feels her loss in a different way than I feel mine. It’s important that I honor that.
Today I read that the relationship between twins has been described as the "closest and most enduring of all human relationships.” If this is true, what does it mean for my oldest daughter who lost her twin sister just 31 hours after they were born?
It means living her life void of what should (or at least could) have been her most intimate human relationship. It means a lifetime of her holding, processing and expressing that grief. It means missing someone who was (and in many ways still is) an intimate and integral piece of herself. It means my baby hurting in ways that many will never understand - including myself. It means memories and milestones that often feel bitter-sweet.
This thing we call grief…it doesn’t get better or easier or less…it just gets different. It morphs and changes, ebbs and flows, and sneaks up on you when you least expect it.
I am slowly learning to hold all of these truths for both myself and my daughter. But I am also learning, through her, that grief can bring so much more to our lives than sadness. It develops wisdom, enriches understanding and cultivates grace. Grief, in fact, can be quite beautiful.
This beauty is made evident in my sweet girl as she navigates her life as a Twinless-twin.