For my sister and my neice

I talk to my sister just about every single day. It wasn’t always like that; but it is now and has been since I told her I was pregnant. She has been a constant source of strength, advice, friendship and someone I can laugh and cry to. She rushed to my side the night before Sylvia was delivered from where she lives over 3 hours away, stayed by my side while I delivered her, stayed in town the following week and opened her doors to Carlos and I when we needed to escape out of town following that. My brother-in-law and her helped us to be invisible for several days while we grieved and processed quietly out of town.

My sister is a mother too. My nephew will be three in October and my niece is six months old. My sister and I couldn’t wait for them all to grow up together. It has been painful to see my neice specifically, because her and Sylvia’s anticipated friendship with them being six months apart was of tremendous excitement. My neice is the opposite of Sylvia. She is still nearly completely bald, tiny wisps of hair maybe hinting at a future red head or maybe completely white-blonde like my sister and I were. She has huge blue eyes, an incredibly contagious, slightly crooked grin and is very petite. Pale pink looks best on her. Sylvia, with her full head of long, curly, very dark hair, anticipated green eyes like Carlos and I and long length, would have provided quite the contrast. Purple would have been Sylvia’s color.

Carlos has had a need to be around babies and little kids since Sylvia’s death. I can do it, and I even appriciate it, but it’s hard. I still haven’t been on my Instagram feed. I am constantly plagued with images of what should have been us. My niece has been a source of happiness though. Her crooked little smile, her innocence, her unawareness of the situation and the important role she has played, even her mini baby tantrums…she is the little ray of sunshine in Carlos’ and my otherwise, at times, rainy day. Sylvia was going to wear her hand-me-downs home from the hospital. When Sylvia died my sister bought my niece a little dove and I get pictures regularly of my niece, her paloma and their adventures. I happily cry every time.

Since my pregnancy my sister and I have had a different understanding of each other, a new appreciation, a new friendship and a different bond. Since Sylvia’s death, it went a level deeper. Through my sister’s own grieving and processing, I have better understanding of my own. Her insight has been instrumental in me finding, even if only for a moment, a sense of peace for the day. Sylvia brought us together. When we found out that Sylvia’s death was unexplained I texted my sister. Though her response was her own processing and emotions related to her nieces death being a mystery, it has resonated with me, deeply impacted me and has calmed my panic. I have the text saved in my phone and look at it several times a day. It is much more than what I will share, but the take-away is that in our bizarre, chaotic world we almost always have a cause and effect – our brains are constantly searching for the answers. Sylvia doesn’t have an answer and we don’t need one. She is our beautiful, perfect little mystery, and thats ok.

Teresa MendozaComment