I still miss you. I think about you daily. Your sons are doing okay. They're keeping it together and trying to move forward in their lives. You'd be damn proud of them. They send me recent photos of themselves standing tall with set jaws and square shoulders. They try to act like it hurts less..and maybe on some level it does, but in quiet moments on the phone their voices crack. Your boys miss their mama.
I would give anything to be able to wrap my arms around them for just one moment, but they're fighting a war no one understands in a land very far away. We pretend it's only for a brief moment. We pretend it's not so far away. We pretend we aren't scared that they'll die in some horrible way in that desert. But we all know we are lying.
You're going to have a namesake, Wren. This is beautiful and precious and perplexingly painful. It hurts that there will be a baby with your name who will never be cradled in your arms. It hurts that the only reason she's being named after you is because you died agonizingly. I try to pretend it doesn't hurt. After all, a baby is a wonderful addition and she is already so wanted and so cherished. I love her very much myself, and she isn't even born yet. Very soon, though, there will be a beautiful baby girl with your name. For some reason I cannot explain, it makes me ache for you so much more.
I stifle the tears, push them away, save for a few I permit to fall in the solitude of the shower. I still miss you so freaking much, how can it still hurt this much? It's been over three years. I blame my hormones, PMS, my stressful job, but that's total bullshit.
Further compounding the hurt is the knowledge that your wee namesake is not going to be the only new babe. There's a 9th baby due in our family. Sadie is not going to be an only child for much longer. I wait with baited breath, hoping with everything I have that the new addition will be our ninth niece and not our first nephew. For the sake of all of the children, I hope we don't have any boys in this generation. Doing so will limit our girls. This is a family of unequal valuation and I cannot bear the idea that the birth of a boy will change what the elders tell our bright, darling, precious nieces about their futures. The sky is the limit for them...but if a boy is born they'll forever play second fiddle to him and he'll have more pressure on him than any human being should. Give us another little girl so that all my clever, funny little girlies will still feel as special and cherished as they should. They are EVERYTHING. Where are you, Wren? You would have fought for them. It's hard fighting for them by myself.. I won't give up, but for God's sake, keeping the lions at bay alone is no easy task.
So anyway, I love you. I wish so much you could have seen the girlies this summer with me. Gawd, they're so big. There is so much you would have laughed at, so much that would have pleased you in that quiet, soft, full of gratitude way of yours. Gemma still has her attitude. Sadie has also developed a bit of one, but she is quickly straightened out and very, very funny. Gemma and Camille are so awesomely gentle and generous with Sadie..it's very sweet.
Come to think of it...this time last year I was mourning that my youngest niece, my Sadie-Girl was no longer a proper babe, and lamenting that no more infants were likely to be born in our family til the girlies have their own. Truth be told, I'm terribly excited that there will be more tiny people to rock to sleep on the porch swing of the family cabin. I just wish you were here to rock them with me, Wren. There's no denying that you were the baby whisperer.
It's late and I have to grab a few hours of sleep before getting up for work. I miss you, dammit. I hate closing my letters to you..which is so stupid..you're already dead. "Goodbye" should only hurt once. So goodnight, Wren. If you were here, you'd tell me to have sweet dreams, you'd call me the pet name you had for me and you'd insist that I rest, not to worry so much, and to get my ass into bed. So I'm going, but I miss you. I hate that you died the way you did. I hate that the idea of crawling into bed without having you to stroke my head makes my eyes fill with tears. Yet I'll go..because I have to be responsible, I have to get up early, I have so much to take care of. So g'night, sis. I'm sending you all my love.