“Mommy, an angel came into my room last night and she was my sister.”
“Does this angel come into your room often?”
“Yes, she is behind you right now touching your head.”
At this moment we had not yet told Ryley about her sister Hope. We weren’t sure how she would react. A tear slowly dripped down my face. Could this really be true?
The next week Ryley drew a picture in her “My Book” of a girl with long hair and glasses. When I asked her who it was she said – Momma, this is Hope.
Hope is the baby who I never got to say hi to. She is the baby who liked rice cakes and who had begun to kick.
She is the baby I was sure was going to be our first child. The child who my husband had bought Mickey Mouse and snow globes for at a recent Disney trip. Being excited and bright eyed and bushy tailed and not understanding how the process really works, one day you play house, the next moment you dream about playing house, and then without notice the house burns down.
So for all of you mothers who know what it is like to dream, cry, get angry, never forget, and scream – I am dedicating my daughter’s angel moment to you.
A moment you’d rather concentrate on then the quiet moments. The moments where you went to the hospital and then arrived home without your daughter in your arms. The moments where you stared at unworn clothes and an untouched crib. The moments where you had told everyone of her arrival and then had to change your story. The moments where you could physically feel the crack in your heart she left behind.
So many times while getting to know Ryley, I’ve wondered about Hope. What would she have been like? Would she have liked reading, skipping in the rain, playing the violin, dancing? Would she be quiet, vivacious, curious?
All good, but silent questions. Questions which never left my mind. Questions which were not allowed to breathe. There was a fear if I let the questions go free I couldn’t still be strong.
I so wanted to be strong as I sat in dance class, worked on a computer, or made chicken. It was easy to follow the routine. At least I thought.
Then Ryley was brought into our lives and I couldn’t help but think of my sister when we were children. A childhood full of mud pies, painting on easels in the basement, or slip-sliding in our yard. The two of you would have fought like we did, but you would have also been sisters.
For now, Hope would be Ryley’s guardian angel. An angel who Ryley would fly balloons to after her birthday party. A guardian angel who Ryley would giggle before the launch and say…Momma, Hope can now play with my balloons, right?
An angel who we imagined would grab the balloons as they soared up, up, and away and disappeared. Again, a quieting moment, but a realization that Hope exists. Hope exists in a big, blue sky. Hope exists as we imagine her running, spinning, and floating with her balloons. Hope exists as she visits her sister at night time. A beautiful realization that we never did or never will give up Hope.