Today, my beautiful twin nieces Emerald and Charlotte turn eleven years old!
My sister Tarnia holding one of the twins the day they were born!
I wanted to blog about them today, to celebrate not just their birthday and how special these girls are to me…but also to celebrate life, my sister, and that the human spirit can survive grief or any challenge we are faced with.
I’ve tackled different thoughts over the years about my sister’s daughters. Thoughts as to why their mum died so young at 39? Why she was taken from them when they were just babies of almost six months old? And I can’t find an answer, or not one that makes any sense anyway. The only cryptic conclusion I can come up with is that maybe Savannah needed her in heaven…to be there when she arrived a few years later…..
That may seem totally crazy or ridiculous, but so is taking a mother from her four children and husband in the prime of her life…..
It seems incredibly surreal to me that I don’t have my daughter here, who would be almost the same age as my nieces…..and they don’t have their mum.
It’s weird, bizarre, whatever you want to call it…but I take comfort from these thoughts. It’s almost like my sister Tarnia is in heaven or somewhere, loving Savannah…..and they are here on earth with me. It’s like we’ve swapped…..
I spoke to them on Skype for their birthday in Australia..….Emmy had her hair drawn back in a ponytail, reeling off what loot she got, squashing her ear into the camera on my screen so I could see the pretty earring’s she’d been given. While Charlotte sat on a chair next to her, brushing her hair until it was smooth and shining…..oh how Charlotte reminded me of my sister who did this almost in identical fashion! And that made my heart twinge that Tarnia doesn’t get to experience any of this.
But I don’t want this post to be about sadness….I do feel sad for them that they don’t know a mother’s love, that all consuming adoration that only a mum can give….
Their Dad, Tone, does an amazing job of showering them with love. Apart from the two years my parents helped raise them, he’s done all the hard stuff mostly on his own. He’s nurtured them, kissed their scraped knees, wiped away their tears and prepared nutritious meals for them every night. He does both jobs, Mum and Dad!
And while I try not to wallow in the fact Tarnia is missing out on these birthdays, where she’d be loving being able to cook them a delicious birthday cake, or trolling the stores for their presents….or just being able to hug them and reminisce about the day they were born……her girls seem unaffected by not having a mother….and this floors me…but it’s true!
I’ve never heard them say “I wish Mummy was here!” Or “What was Mummy like?” And I tell them all the time about their mum and me growing up…how she was the sensible one, and how if she was here she wouldn’t cut their hair…amongst other things. However, they seem like any other ‘normal’ little girls that enjoy the comings and goings of being an ‘almost’ teenager. And who have a messy room! :)
Sometimes, my heart gets squeezed by moments, like watching them at a band concert play their instruments, or listening to them encourage Dempsey with homework. They are always happy. They seem seriously okay…and that is comforting.
I’m not sure why they are like they are. Maybe it’s because their Dad is a huge force in their lives, or because they don’t know what it’s like to have a mother around who'd love them with a fierce force….all I can put it down to is the human spirit is bigger than grief or loss…...
Emerald and Charlotte are happy, well adjusted, affectionate girls! Their spirits are sunny and cheerful and I put this down to their environment. It’s evidence to me that even with the ever present shadow of grief; you can endure losing a loved one and grow out of any tragedy.
However, I know one day they will ask questions, I give them opportunities now but they don’t ask much. And I’ll always be grateful that my sister has left TWO slices of her for us to adore.
I hope they never lose their sense of happiness or become a statistic of grief in the future as they grow into women.
And Dempsey is fortunate to have found sisters in them; they make up a huge hole in her life for the sister SHE is missing. They smother her sometimes with affection which makes my heart swell!
I love the girls like they are my own….I appreciate that while I don’t have Savannah here, I have a small piece of her in watching Emmy and Charlotte bloom into girls who will always be of similar age to my daughter who’s missing. And I hope in time, when they need it, they will feel they have a small piece of their Mummy in me…..
HAPPY 11TH BIRTHDAY EMERALD AND CHARLOTTE!
Love you! XX