Sunday, January 03, 2010

Two Sisters or Four

There are two of us now but could there have been four? Technically I am the firstborn but what of the child aborted prior to my birth when my mother was running for a bus? Was it a girl, was it a child, a fetus, or even a young woman's miscount of her days. Am I really number two?

That would make my brother number three instead of number two.

And what of the first trimester miscarriage after my brother's birth and toddler time? Was it a girl, a baby, a beloved child miscarried, then cremated, flushed, forgotten? Did my parents mourn the loss alone, together, maybe, not at all? Was she baby number three or baby number four?

My brother may shake his head in wonder, these women, their minds, my sisters!

My beloved sister now - destined, amazingly, to always be fourteen years younger than I. What if baby number three (or maybe number four) had lived to birth, would my sister be here now? The sister with whom I share joy and sorrow, silliness and seriousness, the trivial and God. Is she baby number three or baby number five? Is she my sister number one, or perhaps my sister number four? Two sisters for sure, born, bonded, still remembering, still wondering, still honoring the unborn of our lives.

My brother, God bless him, he remains in the middle.
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  1. Love the photo!

    I've never thought of this. My mum had two boys in quick succession and then there's a similar gap of around 14 years before I came along. I understand that mum had two or three miscarriages but she never ever spoke of it. In fact I think it may have been my father who told me, in the context of how much they longed for me to come along. (He was a great dad!)

    I wish now I'd asked her about it, but too late, everyone who would know is dead.

  2. When my brother died in May, I hesitated for the shortest moment and then included mention in his obit of the two babies of the nine my mother had who died in infancy. One was a boy who came home and lived but a few months and one was a girl, stillborn. Both are with my father at Arlington National Cemetery.

    I was very touched by your post.

  3. Tess, Thanks for your note. K & I didn't learn about that first "running for the bus" incident until this past fall when I had the good fortune to connect with an old friend of my mother and dad's in their young married life. She casually mentioned the miscarriage in recalling her time living with our parents. I was so surprised. Of course, I was present to know of the second one after my brother and prior to my sis - that one is very clearly in my mind. What is not clear as it was never discussed with anyone/someone?....certainly not children - what happened to that child not born to full birth. Now I believe we are more educated in understanding the loss of parents when their child is not born or still born - that they mourn - that they loved that child even though they never held it. Something I take seriously remembering that loss.

    Maureen - the mention of the miscarried siblings is a powerful statement for oneself in honoring who we are and who our family was and is. Thanks for sharing your comments!


  4. SS - wow - snowmen and siblings - the mind sieve has been busy!!

    you know i have no doubt that i would not be here had that 3rd/4th child arrived as planned. i am certain she was a she - i have named her grace :-) as to the first - if it were a boy, would he have been j.d. the 3rd, thereby leaving dear brother with the name of "george" that was designated for me? so much to ponder!


  5. Anonymous4:55 AM

    Thank you for guiding us through your familial mathematics. The "if not this, then that" scenarios have effected my life in several key ways. Your post made me appreciate them anew.
    And thank you for being a frequent visitor in my world!

  6. Oh Lucy - George indeed - do you think the Geezer would have liked that one? Geezer Dude/Geezer George - I dunno! And, I think Grace is a lovely name for our number 3 sis!

    Epiphanygirl - thanks for chiming in here. I'm glad this little post was of interest to you. We could go crazy with the "what ifs" but sometimes it's a blessing that should be reflected upon. I love visiting your site also.