Had she lived, my sister would have been 36 years old yesterday. I hadn’t consciously thought about her birthdate in a while, but when I opened my eyes yesterday, it was the first thing that popped into my mind.
Connie Vonetta Emerson, born August 24, 1973, passed away on August 9, 1983 from complications related to lupus.
For many years, I used to get very sad around the time Connie passed. It took me a while to figure out what was happening, but when I did, it made perfect sense to me. Though we only got to spend 9 years (almost 10) together, my sister and I were pretty close.
Unfortunately, I’ve lost most of my memories of my sister. Once the funeral was over, my parents never again took me to her grave and we rarely talked about her in our house. Even now when I say her name out loud, it feels odd to me. Almost like she’s a stranger I’m struggling to remember.
I know I will never forget Alexander and I don’t want others to forget him either. I think that fear is one of the reasons I write. I want everyone to know about my sweet, loving, happy little boy and feel a long lasting connection to him. I only wish I had that connection to my sister. A connection beyond the knowledge that I have a sister named Connie Vonetta Emerson and my few memories of us together.
So, while I still grieve everyday for Alexander, I also grieve the fact I can’t remember more about my sister.
Can it really be 8 months since Alexander passed?
I’ve made some progress in my grief journey but there are still many days that I struggle to get out of bed or find energy to get through the day. I will always be just a bit sad without Alexander but am beginning to remember our times together without crying quite so much.
The postman delievered a package today. He’s not the guy who delivers our regular mail just Priority Mail or Overnight packages. When he handed me the box he asked about Alexander. ‘Where’s the baby? He must be getting big and running around now. I haven’t seen you walking with him in a while.’ So, I had to tell him the sad news. Just goes to show you never know who’s watching you.
The day wasn’t all sad. I needed to get out the house so I went to get my hair done. I went to the mall across the bridge since it’s not a place Alexander and I went often. Since this was the first time I’d been at this salon, I expected the usual get to you know you questions from the hair stylist: are you married, have any children, etc.
I braced myself and when she asked, it was actually an easy exchange. I told her yes I was married and that our son passed away in December. She expressed her sympathy and apologized for asking. She surprised me when she began to ask questions (how old? was he sick?). I was further surprised when I answered her questions without crying. We chatted about Alexander and I shared the bookmark from the funeral service. She read every word. Being a hair stylist, one of the first things she noted about Alexander was the hair. Everyone loves his hair. Our interaction could have gone much differently and I really appreciate the kindness she showed me today.
I miss Alexander and wish he was here with me.
I hosted a meeting at our house on Tuesday night. Again, it was one of those bittersweet things. I’m on the board of a local woman’s organization and we rotate hosting the meeting at a different board member’s home. Last year, I hosted this same first board meeting of the year at our house while Dan took Alexander to the National Night Out activities in our neighborhood. As I was preparing for the meeting, I kept thinking about how this was going to be yet another experience I wouldn’t have with Alexander.
I prepared the same meal as I did last year. I tried to tell myself I was looking for the quickest recipes and that I wasn’t conscioulsy choosing the same dishes, but it didn’t work. The hardest part of the night for me was having to remove Alexander’s booster seat from the table. We have 10 dining room chairs for our table and 10 people were attending the meeting. Now that I’ve moved it, do I return his seat to the table?
I wasn’t prepared for the reaction of one of the board members attending the meeting. When she came in, she looked a little flustered so I asked what was wrong. She said it was the first time she’d been there since Alexander. Surprisingly, I didn’t get sad but I was touched.