May 30, 2014
I've been thinking about you today, trying to remember how long it's been since I first saw you. How many years ago was it? 10? No. Longer than that. It's hard to believe how much has changed since then, at least for me. For you? I'm not sure.
I hate that you and I didn't have time to talk or to try to make sense of anything, really. It's so unfair. You mattered to so many people, not just me. You are precious to me, even now. I thought I'd try to make up for our loss a little. I hope you don't mind.
I love the memory of us. On that sunny day by a crystal blue lake, with blueberries growing on the beach. You changed my life that day. (Yes, really. You did, I know, I'm sentimental about it, but you had to know that was bound to happen.)
What happened? The fabric of my entire being was mended that day, as if all the rips and tears and worn spots just...disappeared. I don't know how else to describe it. There was my life before you - and that moment when I first saw you.
Those eyes. It started with the eyes. I love those the most.
We weren't alone that day: your sisters were there, and so was Julie. I wasn't sure about seeing everyone at once, but the decision was out of my hands. You were a surprise; a glorious and wonderful surprise, which seems appropriate considering our story now.
After you, I wasn't alone anymore - and nothing was ever the same again. Thank you for that. Thank you so very much.
You know it's because of you and Julie that I decided to become a mom. Who would have thought? You lost me, then I lost you - and Julie? She carried us with her. Always. I know others thought of us, but she's the reason you and I are bound together, forever. I don't know about you, but I'm so grateful for her.
I just wish we could have told her - together.
I miss you, and I look for signs of you in my child. My only child. I see myself in her - which is a blessing - and a bloody nuisance at times, I admit. I remember seeing your sisters and asking a few questions about you, but not too many, and not too deep. They have their own stories and their own pain. It feels wrong to ask about you, even though I think I have the right.
I wish we could have really talked. I miss things I never expected: the sound of your voice, your laughter, your favorite foods or music. I know you missed me terribly. Judy told me so. The eldest sister knows the secrets, doesn't she? Why you left us all so soon? I'm afraid I may be a part of that, too. If only we'd known. If only. . .
If only you hadn't died at age 21, the day before Julie's birthday, when I was only 5. If only you two had talked, honestly and openly in that hospital room, about what giving me up at birth did to you - and her. Would you have pulled through? Would you have moved on? Would I have been able to introduce you to your granddaughter, who looks so much like Julie that it floods my heart with love for all of you? My daughter would not be here if I it weren't for meeting Julie, and seeing you - and knowing where I came from. My parents love me so much and worked so very hard to undo the damage of my first four months of life in foster care. They didn't always understand me, but I was loved - and am loved. I love them so very much - and I know I was a challenge. I wonder sometimes if you were the one who got into trouble, as the baby of the family - or maybe I'm more like middle child and rebel Julie. My parents weren't sure, but they knew genetics were there to keep them on their toes.
I just wish tragedy hadn't touched you both. You were gone far too soon and your first love never quite got over everything that happened. She built a life, and had a beautiful daughter, but she won't be there when that daughter marries or has her first child. Your daughters are here, left to love and miss you, and wonder what might have been.
I know everyone tells you time goes by quickly, but you don't realize it until you're a bit set in your ways or too afraid to take chances - with your heart or with your time. Wherever you and Julie are now, I hope you're able to see that you live on. Your granddaughter is here, with me, and I love her for who she is and what she represents to this fractured family tree. She is love and hope - and our future, and she wouldn't be here if it weren't for the love you and Julie shared.
Thank you, for my life, for my heart - and for being you.