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Renee Michelle



Story shared with HAIN April 2009

Dear Mary,

This is something I wrote a few years back, and edited today to make it more geared to something I felt comfortable with sharing. Feel free to use it in the newsletter if you wish. If it's too sad to put in there, I will understand and will not be offended. This is a letter I wrote to my sister (my only sibling), who was born and died 33 years ago.

Amy Wenzel

To my Angel Sister

I've never seen you, not even a picture. There are no footprints, no lock of your hair, no blanket or booties that you wore. No shared memories of childhood, sharing toys, or clothes, or makeup. No fighting over the bigger piece of cake, or whose turn it was to feed the cat, or about who got to sit in the front seat last time. I wonder what you would be like today. Would we have gone to the same college? Would you be married with a family of your own? Would you take my kids to the park and spoil them with ice cream before dinner and buy them too many toys? Would we even be close? Would we even have recognized how lucky we were to have each other? How different life would have been with a sister!

Back then, when babies died no one talked about it. They tried to pretend you never happened. All your sweet-smelling baby things were put away before mom even came home from the hospital. They never spoke your name aloud, and the one time that I remember asking about you, people gasped and the room fell silent, and our parents started to cry. Why does speaking the name of an angel, coming from a grieving child, get the same reaction as a 4-letter-word? Has everyone here gone crazy? Did they really forget you? If I die, will they forget me too?

What I didn't know then, is that they were told by the doctors and nurses to try and forget they ever had you, and to "move on". "Be thankful you didn't have time to get attached." Thankful. For this? How long does it take to "get attached" to your child, your flesh and blood? Surely nine months of a baby growing and moving inside her is not enough time for a mother to grow to love her daughter. They never let her hold you, and she only got to see you for a few brief moments, thanks to a compassionate nurse who snuck her out of her room in the middle of the night and wheeled her hospital bed to the nursery window. I don't know whether our dad ever held you, he can't tell me anything about you, because he can't talk about you. No one took a picture to remember you by. No one thought to save anything that was yours. I wish I could know what you looked like, how big you were, what color your hair was. I wish there was someone that could tell me. But mom doesn't know, and dad can't talk about it. Mom thinks she remembers that you had lots of brown hair, but grandma says that you had hardly any hair and that it was blond, and that the brown-haired baby that mom remembers was actually me. All I know is that you were over 9 pounds, and that you were perfect in every way. Had it not been for a traumatic birth, you would have been a healthy baby.

I would like to think that in your brief stay here on earth, that you felt the loving touch of your family, but I am pretty sure that you were alone in the nursery for all of your time here. I have read your medical records, and I know that your death did not come painlessly or quickly. I hope and pray that there was some caring nurse there with you, to comfort you when you breathed your last breaths. I pray that Jesus held you close as you suffered, and escorted you personally into Heaven. They buried you on mom's birthday, while she was still in the hospital, recovering from surgery after a birth gone horribly wrong. I hope that you had something pretty to wear in your casket, since you never got to wear clothes while you were alive. I hope you know that you were loved.

Such a big part of our parents died along with you that day. They were never allowed to grieve, and their hearts have never healed. Their lives "moved on", but their spirits never did. Things were never the same. Always, there is someone missing. They may have "pretended" like you never existed, but you were and still are very much remembered, and loved, and missed.

In Loving Memory of Renee Michelle, who was born June 11, 1975 and journeyed home to heaven June 13, 1975. See you when I get there!


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