My Sister, my best friend, my maternal figure and the template I use for my own mothering, it’s been three years since pneumonia took you on that snowy day.
I choose not to live in sadness but that ache will never truly leave. One of your friends told us at your funeral of a buddhist philosophy that death is like moving from one room to the next and there was beauty in that pain. I hope you are nearby witnessing what D and I are doing and how we remember you. I see you in his eyes, in his stubbornness, in his strength.
Some days are harder than others. But he has developed resiliency. Toughness. Fortitude.
He’s almost as big as I am now. He carries the book you gave him everywhere. He sleeps with it. I’ve duct taped it together countless times. Sort of like how I duct tape my heart each time the reality that you’re gone hits me in a wave of shock and grief.
But we have made so much progress. Dmitri has moved to California, a disability friendly state. He goes to a wonderful school. His teachers and all the staff love him. He is a social butterfly. And a prankster. He gets a gleam in his eye and knows how to work a room. His comedic timing is impeccable.
He listens to Lady Gaga, music from Glee, Kesha, Kanye West and Danny Schmidt. He charms strangers and friends alike with his love of music. He helps me by putting food in our grocery cart and never strays too far. We are still working on not dropping the bananas into the cart like an anvil, and we will get there.
And most amazingly, Dmitri is communicating now. With the amazing encouragement of his school and work at home he is utilizing the iPad to express his wants and needs. My greatest desire as his parent is to aid him in realizing and embracing his own power that he has over the world around him. He has realized, finally, that his preferences are something that he should share. And he does share. And it’s not always easy when what he shares is the answer no. But we work through it.
I see you in his eyes, his walk, his determination. Even when I have to pull him directly out of the hot tub, with him being nearly my size, I see you. I see you when he smiles at me, grinning from ear to ear. I see you when he helps push the wheelchair bound children on and off the bus. I see you when he hugs his teacher, listens well at school, and when he sets his teeth in refusal to do something he does not want to do. When he babbles Mama I hear him calling for you and calling for me. You never had the opportunity to ask me if I would mother your baby. But I will and I have. We miss you. We love you. We remember you with happy tears. Today we have sad tears, but that is okay. Rest well, Sister, where ever you may be. And we will remember that not all who wander are lost.