A few weeks ago, families around the globe celebrated national siblings day. You saw it on social media: the endless scroll of throwbacks and 90’s clothes. I saw it too. I considered digging through the archives to find the perfect photo of my sisters and me, but I decided not to. I wasn’t even going to post this at all. It was too personal. Too much about me. But I kept going back to this feeling that I needed to post this. Please don’t ask me to explain it, because I can’t. It’s just something I need to do.
So, here it is. An open letter to the brother I’ve never met:
When I was 5, I remember mom talking to someone in church about a baby she lost. I am the youngest so I just assumed she meant me. But I was confused because she never lost me anywhere.
When I was 7, she was crying on a summer day toward the middle of June. The sun was shining; it was warm. I asked her why she was sad and she told me about you for the first time. She explained that she and dad had a son. Being the curious kid that I am, I asked where you were.
She said my older brother lived with Jesus.
She explained that you were stillborn simply enough that I could understood.
It turns out that warm, June day was your birthday.
When I was 11, we went through the giant picture box. There was an envelope. She pulled the pictures out of it, and studied them with a sad look in her eye.
“Do you want to see what he looked like?”
She told me that it wasn’t a very nice picture. You didn’t look quite right. She assured me that it was okay to say no.
But I couldn’t say no, B. I had to know what you looked like when you were on this earth for a few short hours.
So I looked.
My stomach felt queasy. That’s not how I pictured you… and it’s not how I wanted to remember you.
Ever since then, I’ve thought about you. I try to picture your face, your personality, your mannerisms, and everything else there is to picture about someone. I get sad, B. I know I shouldn’t because you’re in heaven and that’s not sad at all.
But I’m sad for all the nevers.
You never fell in love with a beautiful girl.
You never taught me anything.
You never teased me or tickled me until I said to stop.
You never chased any boys away and you never bought me ice cream.
You never went to college.
You never grew up.
I don’t really know how heaven works. I don’t know if you can see me or if God clued you in on all my prayers about you.
But, I just want you to be proud of me.
I love you, B. I can’t wait to meet you someday.
– your little sister