Monday, January 10, 2011

Revisiting 1999

I wrote this for Jenna when she was 7. She turned 19 today.

Happy Birthday Princess

Why Mommy Cries

Jenna, my seven year old, came bounding into the room jut as I had wiped the last tear from my face. "Momma, why are you crying?" she asked, staring at my red eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. "Come over here, honey", I said as I patted the cushion beside me. "I want to tell you a story about you and someone very special to us, your brother, Ryan" "But Momma, don’t you mean my brother, Jonathan? Ryan’s been dead as long as I’ve been alive and that’s been a long time!". I smiled and replied " Jenna, honey, he may have been gone for almost eight years, but I still cry when I think of him". "Momma, what makes you cry?" Jenna asked with the raw honesty only a child could have. I pulled Jenna onto my lap and started telling her about the thoughts that make me cry, even after all these years.

"Jenna, on your birthday, I cry, for I am reminded of the day you were born. We both lost someone very dear to us, your twin brother, Ryan. The doctors said they didn’t know why he died, said it must have just been meant to be. I didn’t want to accept that, but felt I had no choice, he was gone and I had to learn to deal with that. Not only did he die, but you were born, and lived, and I had to take care of you. You, Jenna, were my sweet little angel, with those rosebud lips and little fingers that gripped mine, you were MY reason for living. So, yes, Jenna, I cry every year on your birthday, wishing I could give back to you, what we both lost that day."

"I cry at Easter time, when I am reminded of Jesus’ resurrection. He died for us, so that we may live eternal life. I think of your brother, who died so that you, Jenna, would have a better chance at living. Ryan loved you that much. "

"I cry on Mother’s Day, when I am reminded that although I am a mother of twins, only you, Jenna, are with me here, while Ryan is waiting in heaven."

"I cry when I think of Ryan in the summer months, because I am reminded that he will never see a parade, or fire works, or eat an ice cream cone. I cry because he should be here with you, catching bugs and frogs and all those thing you like to do."

"Jenna, I cry each and every year we wait for the bus on the first day of school. He should be by your side, pulling your pigtails, chasing you around the play ground. Instead you get on the bus alone and play with your other friends at school."

"I cry when you bring home art work from school, because there should be two projects to hang on the refrigerator, two turkeys to hang on the door, two homemade ornaments to hang on the tree."

" I cry when we walk in the mall doing our holiday shopping. There should be two 7 year olds to buy for this year, not just one. I cry when I think of you, looking at Santa with the wide eyed abandon only a child could have, there should be two whispering in his ear...."

"I cry when we decorate the house for Christmas, and you, my sweet child, ask to put Ryan’s ornaments on the tree. It shouldn’t be your job to do. Ryan should be here doing it himself."

" I cry on days like today, when you ask to look at his picture. You so lovingly clutch it to your chest and look at me so sad. You ask me why your brother had to die...and I have no answers for you. We sit and cry together as we both miss him so."

" I cry when you tell me you feel guilty because he died and you lived. No child should ever feel guilty for "being the one that lived"."

" I cry when I remember the day Jonathan was born, and the nurse called him Ryan by mistake. You so quickly corrected her by saying ‘ Ryan is my brother who died, this one is Jonathan’."

" I cry the hardest of all when I allow myself to think about you growing up without your wombmate, your buddy, your friend. I grieve for you, Jenna, in hopes that y our grief will be less."

I love you with all my heart,

Your Mother.
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