When I got pregnant with my twin boys, my daughter was not just angry, she wanted to move to Nana’s house. At ten, she was used to having me all to herself for an entire decade. Becca was pouty and misbehaved more frequently than she had ever before. My little girl, with the generally sweet disposition, was being impossible.
I was nearly five months along, in my pregnancy, when I found out there were two babies! And, that they were both boys. I was stunned. I think most people would be knocked off balance with the news of twins! When I entered my parents apartment, to tell them the news, I just handed them the ultrasound picture. I might not have to tell you . . . but, hearing the news, Becca decided to stay with my parents for a few days.
My boys arrived earlier than we had expected. We barely had time to get used to the idea of twin sons. Or, have a baby shower. But we did our best. The shower was attended by family and close friends . . . all who had agreed to bring a “big sister” gift for Becca. The pictures from this event are comical because they show a very sullen little girl who is having no part of the festivities!! But after that night . . . Becca changed. The boys were no longer “the babies” but instead, she started to refer to them as “my brothers”.
Sitting next to me on the couch, she would place both hands on my belly, so she could “touch both of them” she explained. Every night, I would sit with my mouth hanging open so she could talk to the boys. Sometimes, she would even sing. Always, she told them how much she loved them. And, she did. From the moment she held each in her arms. They were hers and she was theirs.
She was Sissy to them. And they adored her.
My boys, though they are twins, can be as different as night and day. Just as siblings do . . . they fought hard, but they loved harder. As boys can, they aggravated her, and each other. I am certain, of the fact, that my boys would not be as wonderful men as they are . . . if she hadn’t been their sister. I am so proud of my sons and all they have overcome in their short years here on earth.
A friend of mine, very innocently, stated she was glad that I had mentioned my sons at the close of my last blog piece. I thought about her question . . . and asked if she thought I didn’t talk about them enough. She said yes. Which I completely understand . . . from her viewpoint. I’m glad she asked, I’m torn, though. My life, being a journey, has many layers upon my path. Is she right? Am I ignoring the boys? More importantly, do THEY feel as if I am ignoring them? I haven’t lost my sons (thankfully) and this blog is about child loss. Even child loss has many facets.
My grief as her mother. The enormity of closing down my child’s life. Becoming a mother changed me as a person. Becoming a bereaved mother had an even bigger effect on my life. Giving birth expands our soul. Losing a child rips it from our bodies. My relationship with my surviving children was deeply affected. How I viewed the world changed in seconds. Every single thing about me was altered.
Including my ability to love my twin boys. I was afraid to love them. To love my children is to lose my children, I thought. Many years had to pass for me to realize my boys wouldn’t be cursed by my love. Overwhelming guilt still floods my chest when I think of the mother I was after losing Becca.
As many times as I have tearfully apologized to them, both Gabriel and Matthew, have told me I don’t need to say I’m sorry. Though I KNOW I failed them, in both big and small ways, they have shown me grace with their words and actions. Forgiveness I still am not sure I deserve. Even though I was completely broken, and severely lacking, my teenage sons stayed with me instead of going to live with their father. They both have a depth of character that I just stand in awe seeing.
Despite the loss of their beloved Sissy, and their broken mother, they have not only survived, but thrived. I say I am proud . . . but who they are has more to do with them, than me. Both of them, love life. They still trust life. They are adventurous and kind and giving and compassionate and generous.
Gabriel is my fighter. He’s more like me than any of my children. He carries an angst and deepness that is well beyond his years. Words flow from his pen as smooth as a stream over water worn stones. Though he struggles with worldly issues, as people do, he remains hopeful and positive. He has an intelligence that seems to come from knowing there is more in this world than what we see and he carries the knowledge from our ancestors. He’s artistic and creative and talented with whatever medium he chooses to use. He’s my poet. I know, he carries his Sissy deep in his heart and she comes out in his poetry.
Matthew is my world changer. He is deeply moved by others difficulties. The pain, I believe, from losing his Sissy propels him forward in his chosen field. Helping others. He has a way of speaking, that not only highlights his intelligence, but soothes people. He is genuine and earnest and still looks at the world in awe. All of the possibilities that are out there . . . he knows he can chase them and catch them. He’s a good man, and just to look into his eyes, you can see he is. Matthew carries his Sissy in his actions to help those around him. She comes out in the love he gives the world.
Yesterday, Gabriel told me they have an opportunity to go to Budapest and film an event for the media company they started with their friend. My boys, having endured so much by the time they reached adulthood, could be afraid of the danger that exists in the world. So afraid, that they might not be able to take advantage of this trip. But they aren’t. They are thrilled to be going back to Europe in April.
As I said . . . they still trust life.
Me, I’m worried for them. A mother always worries . . . especially after losing a child. But, more than I am worried, my soul is joyful that they are happy and hopeful in all they do. I could not be prouder of my little boys who turned into amazing men. I am excited for what the future will bring for them. For us.
In them, my hope resides.