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” “You do but you won‟t understand.” I was four years old sitting on the front porch with my mom. It was during the fall around 3:30 p.m., as the elementary school kids were getting off the bus in my old neighborhood and I saw a two girls, I knew they were sisters, walk off the bus before my older brother. I continued to ask “Then where is she, why can‟t she be here with us?” My mom waited for a while, contemplating whether to tell me about my sister or not. I was only four years old but I figured I would understand because I understood some things better than most six year olds. We both sat there in silence as we waited for my brother to climb the gravel driveway that lead to our old blue house. As my brother reached the porch he screamed with excitement, “Look what I drew at school today!” He pulled out a folded piece of paper from his jacket pocket and began to unfold it. Once he finished unfolding the piece of paper I could make out the picture to tell that it was supposed to be a picture of our family. All of us was there, my mom with her long brown hair and glasses, my dad with a little bit of a belly and some kind of tool in his hand, a boy with a hat on, a baby with a somewhat rattle, even our black dog Grizz was in the picture. But one thing was missing to me, my sister so I said, “But „Dent‟ where is our sister?” He replied, “Brandi we don‟t have a sister!”
“Oh yes we do!” I screamed back at him. As we argued over if we had a sister or not you could see the sadness just sweep over my mom‟s face because she then felt obligated to tell us the truth. She ended the argument with, “Stop it you two, ya‟ll do have a sister but we need to go inside it is getting cold out here!” So my mom opened the screen door that covered the front door to allow my brother to open the front door to the house (it made him feel big and strong). I guess my mom figured that the trip from the front porch to the inside of the house would make my brother and I forget about our conversation. As my mom made her way into the kitchen and left us behind in the living room she instantly changed the conversation by asking, “Would ya‟ll rather have macaroni and cheese for your snack or just some crackers?” I didn‟t reply and neither did my brother, we were both to busy whispering about our sister that we had no idea about. Since neither one of us answered her, she walked into the living room to find us talking about our sister. As she walked in the room she heard my brother telling me, “You know Brandi some people do just lie.” Of course I already knew that people lie all the time because he always tried to lie on me saying I did something to get me in trouble when I really didn‟t do anything, which made me mad. But this time I was really angry because he was calling my mom a liar. Hearing my brother say this instantly crushed my mom because she started crying on the spot. Unless my mom wanted her six year old son and four year old daughter to think of her as a liar she knew she had to explain to us what had happened whether we would understand it or not. She sat down next to me and my brother on the, suede, floral printed, couch and began the story of our sister, that we should have had.
She began her story with how she had been with our daddy for a while and they wanted to add on to their family so they tried to have a baby. Little did she know it would happen sooner than later, well at least she thought so. One day, about a year after her and my dad had been married she left for work at Gaston Screen Printers even though she didn‟t feel good that morning she pushed through her sick feeling to go to work. Once she got to work she had to go to use the bathroom (because all of the coffee she had drunk that morning) and found out that she was on her period, so she wasn‟t pregnant like she hoped she would have been because of the “morning sickness”. Throughout the day she felt sick on her stomach but she just thought it was normal cramps but then she started to bleed, A LOT! So she called my dad to come pick her up from work to take her to the hospital. Once she got to the hospital they took her right back to the emergency room because they knew what was happening, but she still didn‟t. The doctors ran some tests to make sure what they had thought was the right diagnoses, and it was. My mom had had a miscarriage with two twin boys (they could tell by tissue samples taken). She was pretty upset because she didn‟t even know she was pregnant and didn‟t even know if she wanted to try and have kids at all. About a week after her miscarriage my mom had been praying and praying about a sign of what to do as far as having a family. Even though my mom did trust that she would have more kids, she still wanted to wait a little while until she tried again. About a year and a half after her miscarriage she began to try to have kids again. On June 28, 1988 my mom had a beautiful little girl who would end up changing my mom‟s life and her perspective on things. My sister (Shana) was a very cute little baby with long, thick, black hair, olive tone skin, and long fingers and toes. My mom couldn‟t wait to take her home from the hospital and to have the great little new addition to the family. A few weeks after my big sister and mom had been home from the hospital my mom started to notice something
weird about my sister, she had been turning blue in her lips for a few seconds throughout one day, so my mom rushed my sister to the hospital after it happened a few times. By this time my mom did not view the hospital as a happy place, and that feeling would continue. After the doctors examined my sister and ran all the tests on her they diagnosed her with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (the arteries of the heart and the veins of the heart are switched). Since my sister was so young the doctors decided to admit her to Intensive Care to keep a close eye on her. My mom stayed day and night in Intensive Care with my sister for two weeks until the doctors decided to go ahead and operate on her heart. My sister died in surgery, at one month old, because her heart was not strong enough to take the intense surgery. The doctors were devastated that they had to go back out to the waiting room to tell my mom the bad news. My mom was completely crushed once she heard that her third child, and first daughter had passed away but the doctors had told my mom one thing that she will never absolutely forget. As my sister was passing away, the doctors swore that they slightly heard my sister whisper mommy with her last breath. My dad at this point was outraged and didn‟t know what to do with except to be angry and he got so angry at himself that he blamed himself for my sister dying and threw a chair against the wall at the hospital and the security had to come to settle him down. After my sister passed away my mom was almost sure that she did not want to go through the trouble of trying to have another kid and just end up being disappointed. She didn‟t want to get hurt again but she did really want a family. She told us that she could tell that God was with her because she felt an arm around her and tell it would be okay and that she would have two kids. She trusted in God and had my brother four years after my sister passed and away and I came along a whole six years after my sister. I always wonder what it would be like to have my sister around. When I see
other girls walk around I get so jealous and wish that there is some way I could know what the special relationship of two sisters would be like.
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