Calling My Big Sister

I remember, well, the day Blake and I saw two pink lines appear on the home pregnancy test. I had left the test in the bathroom and paced back and forth in the hall. Blake had stopped my pacing for a hug and, I’m sure, a quick prayer. I peered into the bathroom from around the corner, as if the test would work better if it didn’t know I was watching. I saw the lines, ran into our room and shrieked “What does two lines mean?” We didn’t have the forethought to read ahead of time what we were looking for, but it didn’t take too long for Blake to find the answer.

We were ecstatic. I screamed and jumped up and down and we both cried.

I called my big sister right away. She’s eight years older than I am, but we’ve always been close. As a child I would tag along when not invited, steal gum from her friends’ purses, chew on her Barbies, and snuggle up next to her  when I couldn’t sleep. I know, now, that I annoyed her. At the time, though, I had no idea. I just knew that I liked her, she braided my hair really well, and I wanted to be just like her. How could I be just like her if I didn’t follow her everywhere to see exactly what she did and how she did it?

I would say that I’ve grown out of it, but given that I just spent seven months living in her house with her family, going to her church, and claiming her friends as my own I’m not sure that much has changed. What can I say? She has good taste in people. : )

Sisters 🙂

Back to the call… We small talked for a few minutes until I couldn’t handle it anymore. Still not in grown-up mode, I yelled “I peed on a stick and there were two lines!” It took her a minute to register what I had interrupted her sentence to announce. When she did, she began shrieking, as well. We’re not very adult-y when we’re excited and we definitely don’t hide how we’re feeling.

Within a couple of weeks, I had a care package with everything she could think of to make my first trimester more bearable–Tums, Gas-X, Zantac–you know, the good stuff. She also included a couple of baby toys and [gag] a hand-me-down Duke shirt.

Even after all of the heartache, I still feel joy when I think about that day. The promise of possibilities and future life seemed like such an adventure. Nearly two years later, the joy I feel is reined in when I think of promises broken and a life snuffed out by a tragic accident.

I can’t really think about that day and that phone call without thinking of another.

We got the news that Silas was gone. I sat in the ultra-sound room yelling, groaning, in gut-wrenching pain. The only actual word that could escape my lips was “no.” I repeated it over and over and over again, hoping that if I said it enough, the doctor would somehow change his mind and find that beautiful blinking heartbeat that I’d heard just the day before. We made it to the hall. Blake told Alonso. We got in the car to drive home. I could still only say “no.”

Like before, I called my sister first. Like before, I lacked the finesse to give the news in a gentle way. I groaned “he’s gone.” I crumpled to the floor in a heap of sobs. I heard her wails on the other end. I begged her to call my parents. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell them that another of their grandsons had died. Looking back, I realize how awful it was for me to have someone who had already lived the same tragedy deliver the news. At the time, though, I couldn’t imagine calling anyone else.

She could have said no. She could have let the tidal wave of her grief, my grief, our grief for our boys cripple her. She didn’t. I’ve never asked her who answered the phone, what she said. I don’t know how she did it. My guess is that, like before, she went into big sister mode. She couldn’t send me a care package to try to make my life a little easier, but she could pick up the phone and do what I couldn’t.

I am blessed she is a part of me and that, no matter what is happening in my life, I can call her.

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3 Responses to Calling My Big Sister

  1. Jaimie says:

    I love you!! The times when we were growing up and you followed me everywhere, Dad would always remind me that I prayed for a sister just like me! If only I’d known how deep that was going to go… We have a very special bond, always have and always will!!

  2. Sara Hopper says:

    What a good sister. I am a big sister and I hope I help my sister in sweet ways like this. It helps so much to have kind, strong people to help in this heartbreak.

  3. Pingback: Joy After Unspeakable Heartbreak | Desert Journeys

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