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life goes on

It was Lora's birthday yesterday.  I didn't write a post honoring my sister.  I always do – on her actual birthday.  But our entire family was getting over a major stomach bug and I had gotten behind on laundry etcetera and the words just didn't come. Every time I sat down there was another phone call or thing to do, diaper to change, Evyn-story to listen to, and the words just never came (not that I wasn't thinking of her, mind you).  Somewhere in yesterday, in the twinge of guilt I felt for not writing, marks a lesson I have learned: Life goes on.  And I can't be afraid of it.

Bathing Beauties

I joined a Sudden Loss group not long after Lora died.  Everyone there wanted so badly to be rid of the pain.  Not me.  I wanted to always have it there as a reminder.  To me, the extent to which I hurt, that her name was raw pain–that was a measure of how deeply I loved her.  What I didn't know was that whether I liked it or not, time would curb the hurt.  Because life does go on.  I was sad to lose it.  The intense pain, that is.  I felt guilty, wondered if I was somehow betraying her by not crying on every birthday, by coming to enjoy mine again.

I was afraid time would take her away.  It wasn't too long after she died that I started forgetting just a little.  Exactly how she laughed, what she looked like.  The mannerisms, the memories.  It worried me.  And then along came the girls.  Those serendipitous little girls. 

Ashlynevyn3

   Littleblogger

I always imagined having two boys.  There were a lot of boys on James' side of the family so it seemed inevitable.  And then we had two girls.  Three years and a month apart.  I wanted to avoid the obvious trap of bestowing all of my memories and expectations of sisterhood on them, so I have been conscious to not compare them too much to Lora and I, and to nurture their individuality as they reveal themselves.  But the effort to not compare is sometimes a little hopeless.  I see Lora in each of them – Evyn's passion and appreciation for every little detail of life, Ashlyn's pillowy pudge feet and affinity for the forbiddenest corners of the house.  And watching them is like watching the two of us.  Maybe it's birth order, but Evyn is smart, capable, well-spoken, argumentative, and overly-responsible (yes, she's only four).  Ashlyn (so far) is fiesty, mischievious, loves to cuddle on a whim, fiery mad when she doesn't get her way, and follows Evyn around like a puppy.  They are Evyn and Ashlyn, but on some days, in certain moments, they could be Crystal and Lora. 

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There is a lot of pain and sadness in the fact that Lora, my little sister who adored babies and children, who would have spoiled these two to the moon and back, who would probably already have two of her own by now, is not here.  But if there is redemption, if I want to enjoy my life, to respect and honor our loss but have a fulfilling life nonetheless, I only have to listen at the door when my girls are giggling and screeching and squealing in their rooms. 

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There is a caveat. I do realize it's almost a burden for them to bear – to remind me so much of my happiness with Lora.  I'm conscious of it, and I'll toe the line carefully.  But my girls will probably pay for that driver's negligence for the rest of my life–when they ask for their license, when they're gone four minutes longer than they should have been, when they go off to college, when they reach Lora's age.  That's a consequence of our free will.  Good people sometimes pay for others' mistakes.  I'll cross those bridges when I come to them.  For now I'll pray for their safety, and that they will be blessed by each other as much as or even more than Lora and I were.

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Today is my birthday.  The tenth without a phone call from Lora.  James and Evyn are making me a cake, and later we'll take the girls to the bookstore for coffee and the train table, where Evyn will introduce everyone to Ashlyn and remind the children to not step on her, and Ashlyn will throw trains and look for coffee to spill.  It will be a good day.  Because the very fact that life goes on has been what has brought my sister back to me.  Sometimes the pain, but always the depth of love.

Other Lora Posts: Galations 2:20; Love, Sissy; Little Sister (I remember waiting Ashlyn's arrival almost like waiting for a gift from Santa just for Evyn) 

Heather - Happy Birthday, Crystal. Thanks for sharing your love and memories of Lora with us so openly. I hope your birthday is amazing!

LauraJ - What a beautiful post. For a time grieving *for you* was your normal. Now you’ve a new normal and it’s all good. We grow, we change, but we never forget love.

Andrea - I don’t have any words except… such love. Such love.
Have a wonderful birthday with your husband, your girls, and your memories.
-Andrea

Andrea - I don’t have any words except… such love. Such love.
Have a wonderful birthday with your husband, your girls, and your memories.
-Andrea

Lucy - The sadness never goes all the way away, I don’t think. Certainly you never forget, and anniversaries always hold that joy and sadness all mingled together. Thank you for sharing the girls, and Lora, and yourself.
I wish you a *good* birthday.

lera - Happy birthday.
I, too, lost a sister suddenly. Time does heal. It takes away the stinging pain, but it is always there. It’s only been six years since she died and I try so hard to remember her laugh, her smile, her voice. It does get harder.

The NON-Superwoman - Happy birthday. I love how you keep your sister’s memory alive and how those of us who never knew her know one thing for sure. She was deeply loved. Sounds like she was one heck of a sister and young lady.

Amber - Thanks for sharing these beautiful words with us (every year)…I hope you have a wonderful birthday with your girls and hubby!

Amber - Thanks for sharing these beautiful words with us (every year)…I hope you have a wonderful birthday with your girls and hubby!

Sarah B - Happy Birthday Crystal. I have enjoyed catching up on your life through your blog. Glad to see how normal your lives are now and that you are enjoying it. The girls are so beautiful. Give them hugs for me. Have a Merry Christmas.
Sarah

Jenny Gardner - Happy birthday Crystal. You have such a gift for putting your thoughts and feelings into words. Thank you for sharing.
Jenny Gardner

Old Red Barn Co. - Beautiful words.
Happy Birthday.

sassypriscilla - Happy Birthday.
This is a beautifully written post.

vanessa - Happy birthday and what a touching post. You had me crying. I’m am having issue with my older brother right now and it make me miss our childhood when things were simple and he couldn’t be taken away from us by his actions. I couldn’t imagen the pain of lossing him but so often he’s at the breaking point and I can’t save him.
best wishes

keri - Crystal – wow. what a post. I hope you had a great birthday and suspect Lora had a nice one too – looking down at you, smiling and watching you w/your girls.

keri - Crystal – wow. what a post. I hope you had a great birthday and suspect Lora had a nice one too – looking down at you, smiling and watching you w/your girls.

misschris - Oh dear. *sob*
Happy birthday, Crystal. I hope you have a wonderful day. xoxo

Emily - Happy Birthday!
Wow. So emotional and beautifully written.
Reading your post (and others about Lora) makes me so jealous that I don’t have a sister of my own and makes me want to have one for my own little girl. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Margot - Happy Birthday to both of you.
Thank you for sharing this. I think it’s important in life to talk about death, because people so rarely do yet it’s such a crucial part of life…

Katrina - Happy Belated Birthday!
Thanks for sharing the precious memories and feelings for your sister. I hope you had a very special day with your family.

J - I just stumbled on your blog and I am sitting here in tears. I am sorry you experienced this loss. I also have two little girls (2 1/2 and 5 months old), and your description of your girls’ sisterhood is beautiful, as is your recognition of the cross the three of you will bear.