When I first decided to write this blog entry, I had it all planned out what I was going to say.  I thought of so many different things to talk about and different memories to write about, but now that I’m sitting here ready to write it all out, it escapes me.  I’ve been staring at the screen for a few moments with a blank stare, wondering where all of that went.  I’m a pretty open person most of the time; I’d go so far as to say I actually rarely keep anything to myself.  My mouth runs non-stop at any given time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep things to myself.  Everybody has things they keep to themselves and share with only a select few, and this is one of those things.  Something I don’t talk about very often because I just don’t know what to say about any of it.  But for the first time, I’m gonna try.  I’ve never really given it much thought, and when I realized that last night it bothered me.  I need to think about it and remember it all.  This will help.  I hope.

Today would’ve been my little sister’s 12th birthday.

People who know me generally only know of my two brothers.  Both are half-brothers by a different parent, but I’ve never really given that any thought.  Both are my brothers and are known to everyone around me as such; there’s no point in focusing on the fact that they don’t share both parents with me since that doesn’t mean I love either of them any less.  What I don’t talk about very often is that I also had a sister.  Had/have.  I never really know how to say that.  How to talk about her.  Faith was born 12 years ago today, but was too premature and unfortunately couldn’t make it on her own.  She survived for 7 days and then they had to let her go because she wasn’t going to get any better.  I hope this doesn’t sound callous, but please understand that I was 11 years old when all this happened.  The specifics are still very vague to me because it isn’t something I’ve ever wanted to ask my dad or step-mom to explain to me.  It would kill me to ask them to relive it anymore than absolutely necessary, so I’d rather just remember what I can.

I was in middle school when Connie was pregnant with Faith.  She used to watch me and my middle brother (the younger hadn’t been born yet) after school at my mom’s house.  I remember her being pregnant.  And I vaguely remember when things started going wrong.  As an 11 year old I didn’t have much comprehension of what was going on, just what I could see and understand.  When Faith was born she was very early, and very small.  Everybody knew it was going to be a critical situation, so grandparents came into town to see her and be with my dad and Connie while they tried to keep it together.  I do remember that much.  I’d never seen my dad walk around with such a blank stare on his face.  There was no laughter in his eyes like there usually was.  Every spare minute he had was spent at the hospital with Faith.  Same with my step-mom.

I remember being allowed to see her for the first time.  She was in a very sterile part of the hospital, so when I went in I had to scrub up to make sure I wasn’t carrying in any germs that might hurt her.  She was so tiny.  So small.  Even being so young I knew it wasn’t right and even then it made me sad to see her like that.  She was my little sister and without saying it out loud, everyone knew that it wasn’t looking good.  I wish it had turned out different, but that’s not what happened.  I remember the hospital calling my dad when she took a turn for the worse, and he raced to the hospital to hold her in his arms for the last time.  I was too young to really understand what it meant that they were taking her off life support, but they knew then and I know now.

Her funeral was the first funeral I can ever remember attending.  I got to see her in the funeral home before we went to the cemetery and buried her.  Someone sang.  Someone spoke.  I don’t remember any of it.  I just remember my family members being there and everyone crying.  Everyone but me.  I didn’t really know what to feel.  Not then.  I was sad, but I didn’t know how sad it really was, or how sad I’d be later when I thought about her.  Dad and Connie were in a daze for a long time after that.  When she got pregnant with my younger brother a year later I still remember everybody being scared it would happen again.  When he came early, I remember being so scared that I wouldn’t get to have a baby brother.  But he was healthy and has grown big and strong since then.

I don’t have any pictures of Faith.  I wish I did.  I thought about that when I decided to write about her today.  The only picture I have is a very old one from shortly after she was buried of her headstone.  When people ask me how many siblings I have, my first response is two.  I always answer two.  Partially because I don’t feel the need to explain any further than that, but to be honest – sometimes I don’t even think about it.  I never had Faith in my life.  I never got to be her big brother.  I never got to hold her like my parents did.  I never got to play tea party with her.  I didn’t get to do any of the things a big brother should do.  I wish I had.

I’m about to go see my dad and step-mom and my little brother, and we’re going to go out to the cemetery to visit Faith.  It’s been years since I’ve been.  I don’t know why.  Happy birthday Faith.  I love you.

The headstone of Faith's grave

The headstone of Faith's grave