Monday, March 30, 2015

Sister-cousins and being four.

My mom, sister, nephew, and niece came to visit for the weekend.  I was looking forward to seeing them, but leading up the weekend, I had these moments of pangs.  All week, I'd ask Benjamin who was coming to visit and he'd shout, "AJ!"  His four-year-old cousin is his best buddy, and it's so fun to see.  But then he'd continue, "No Lane, no Lane, no Lane!"  He didn't want his girl cousin, who is 7 weeks older than him, to join.

It made me laugh and it made my heart hurt.  Because while I was ecstatic to be having a girl, my sister might have been more excited than me.   We would both have the older son, younger daughter combination.  And with our boys already best buddies, we had no doubt that our girls would be best buddies too.  Both of us thought we'd be done with two kids, so we said that although our sons wouldn't have brothers, they'd have each other and though our daughters wouldn't have sisters, they would have each other.  We called them sister-cousins.

I'll never forget my sister's screams when I called her, sitting on the exam table, to tell her that Lane's sister-cousin no longer had a heartbeat.

So leading into the weekend, I was excited to see them, but I was anxious too.  It's hard to watch the older brother, younger sister combination now, even when they're my nephew and niece.  It's hard to watch the boys play so well together, and wear their matching t-shirts.  I miss Lydia ALL the time, but sometimes my heart aches a bit more than other times.

Still, Benjamin had a blast with his cousins, and I felt more like my old self than I have in a long time. 

On Sunday, over lunch, AJ asked, "Why do you have a candle on your table?"
"We light it and think about Lydie," I told him.
"Because she's not here?"  he asked.  And then continued, "And she used to be in your belly... she died."
"That's right," I told him, my eyes watering.  "Because she's not here, and she used to be in my belly, but she died, and we miss her very much."
"Me too," he said.  "I want to see her!"

Me too, buddy, me too.

Then he promptly said, "I'm done!," got down from his chair, and went to play.

The mind of a four-year-old.

I wonder if these are the conversations we'll have with Ben when he has the words for them.


  1. I cried just reading this. I so wish Lydie was here. I imagine Lane holding her sister-cousin, and me taking them to see musicals and us taking them shopping. I'll never not be sad that we can't do these things. But I am so grateful for you and our strong, loving, teasing family and the kids we have here on earth. Love you. Love Lydie!

  2. I think these conversations that are yet to come from these kids might be the hardest ones we have.

    But maybe also the better ones? I hope so, anyway.

  3. You know what hits me most when reading this? How your sister screamed. That she knew instantly the enormity of the loss, felt it, and could respond the way we want the whole world to respond - the way we, or at least I, couldn't at the time. But it's the most appropriate one, and with that alone I already know I'd hang out with your sister anytime and she'd be welcome at my place.
    Also? She's taught AJ about her!! Clearly talks about Lydie with him, Lydie isn't a name or topic to be hush-hushed, she's his cousin. And she died. And I'm touched beyond measure that your sister is including her as the member of the family that she is with HER immediate family. I'm not saying this particularly well because I'm in a hurry, but hoping you know what I mean.
    It's a tremendous gift to have someone who Gets It like she does, especially when that someone is family.
    And it sounds like your visit went as well as it could. I'm glad you felt a little more like the Heather you know. It's nice to have a glimpse once in awhile.
    P.S. Cate has recently started talking about baby Anna, her little sister Anna, etc and saying she's in heaven. "I wish she were here." or "I don't want her to be in heaven anymore. I want her back here with us!" Just to have her be at the age she knows she HAS a sister and claims her is wrenching. But the comments of wishing she had a living sister and playmate just about do me in, every time.


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