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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

memories and what-ifs

on the day before my fifth birthday, 32 years ago today (at least, i think that's when it was - correct me if i'm wrong, mom), my little sister was born.

but i never got to meet her.

she died later that day. some of her vital organs had not fully developed, and she couldn't breathe on her own. and my mother was so heartbroken and devastated that she chose to have her tubes tied not much later, ensuring that she'd never have to go through anything like that again. having gone through the shock and disappointment two years ago with my own miscarriage, i can't even imagine how impossibly painful those days must have been for my mom and dad. the hub's mom endured a similar loss, somewhere between him and brother wan. she and FIL lost a baby girl, seven months into her pregnancy.

i still remember standing on the top of a grassy hill in front of the hospital with my godparents, waving frantically towards the window of the small hospital room where she lay, healing (well, physically, at least) and hopefully waving back, unaware of the loss our family had just suffered.

actually, i remember very little from back then, but i do recall feeling really sad that the sibling i'd been waiting so excitedly and patiently for was not to be. i marvel at the strength that my mom had to find within herself to go on to the next day, and the next. and as i got older, i would think about how different life would be had she lived. i constantly played the "if she was here..." game in my head. stuff like:
  • would she have been cooler than me and had more friends at school? i always imagined that she'd be prettier and more fun than i was - a shy, quiet little mouse with big ass buck teeth and a fucked up boy haircut, constantly trimmed by my dad, who was a barber.
  • would my parents have had more kids? maybe i'd have been surrounded by several brothers and sisters, which would have definitely made me turn out quite differently, i'd think.
  • would my mom still have ended up unhappy with her life with my dad? would she still have had the balls to make that change and give herself a better life, with two kids rather than just one?
  • would moving in the middle of the school year have been as difficult for her as it was for me? or would she have helped me handle it differently?
  • would my mom have gone on to have a child with my stepdad? and would i have been as welcoming and loving as the teen has with the bean?
  • would i have left the house, two days after my 18th birthday, to go off and live with the now-ex?
  • would i have still ended up the black sheep of the family, who often gathered to have "family meetings" to discuss the problem that was me?
  • would i have gone to college, leading me down a completely different life path?
  • would she be proud of me and the life i've managed to build for myself?
there's lots and lots of other "what-if"s, but if i kept on going, it'd be freaking saturday and you'd still be reading this post. heh.

happy birthday, little sister. i think of you all the time, and i know the day will come when i'll finally get to give you a hug and tell you how much i love you.


  1. Never before finding the blogging world did I realize how common this loss is. So sad.

    You're right, there are so many what-ifs. I often wonder how different my family would have been if my little brother had been a little sister like I had wanted. Weird.

  2. this post made me sad. I didn't realize both you and your mom had a miscarriage. ;(

    life is way too full of what-ifs.

  3. Life is filled with what-ifs, but I guess the most important thing is to live the best way you know with what you've got.

  4. Oh, wow. What a lot your family went through. So very sad.

  5. I feel like I have learned more about you, though, from your what-ifs.

    What a terrible thing to go through.

  6. That's really sad, Wan. What a big "what if" that is. Hugs to your sister on her birthday.

  7. Oh, Wan, this made me cry. How sweet and sad.
    Also, you may feel you're the black sheep but you are a lot of people's favoritist blogger.

  8. One of these days I'll share a really personal story with you that still brings tears to my dad's eyes about the "one that never was". I'm just not comfortable with sharing it online.

  9. I love the way you write, very emotional and honest. Thanks for sharing this, it hit home in a lot of ways. It made me sad, but such is life and it's the sad and hard things that make us appreciate the good things we've been blessed with. xoxo.

  10. So sad and real. I'm happy you shared.

  11. such a bittersweet entry. sweet because of your take on it.

    i play the what-ifs, too. my mom and dad lost a baby way earlier than they had me.

  12. Thanks for sharing something so personal and revealing and honest... A definite tearjerker.

  13. This made me cry, and it really touched me. I am so sorry for your family's loss.


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the hub 45.0

happy birthday today to this guy: hopefully he won't kill me for any of those pictures.  ah well...happy birthday to the love of my life!