Eighteen years ago, my sister and I were expecting at the same time. She had her baby in May, a girl that she named Grace, and my son Coco was born in July. It was kind of fun to share pregnancy stories with my sister, though we only shared them on the phone because we were 3,000 miles apart. For Janice, this was her first child, for me, it was my second – but we had many of the same tests, and probably some of the same fears.
Grace Lynn was born at 12:26 AM on May 29, 1993. Her parents, Janice and Bo, were both overjoyed to finally meet her and I remember getting many photos of them holding her in the hospital and at home. It was surreal in a way; they had their baby and I still had two months to wait for mine.
In the fall after Grace was born, she and her parents came to Oregon to visit us. They came with me to a radio station contest (go figure!) where we had to guess how much a pile of bricks weighed. We all filled out an entry and the next day as we were driving to visit Mt. St. Helens we heard on the radio that my sister had guessed the right weight of the bricks and had won a limo ride through Portland and dinner for eight. We were thrilled! The very next day my family and my sister’s family took a tour of Portland in the back of a limo and had a great night on the town.
I was in New York the following February when Grace was baptized (I helped make some of the food) and that September when we lost my sister. Both times I brought my son with me and he and Grace got to play together. It was really lovely to see them enjoying the same things; I remember that the Johnny Jump Up was a really great treat back then.
In November, I was back in NY with Coco when we lost Grace’s Dad. Taken from us way too young it was a shock for all of us. Grace had only known him for a year and a half – and that seemed very unfair. But we all know that Life is not fair – even though we wish it were. None of us had answers to give Grace for why such a thing would happen; we were as lost as she was.
All these years later, I still have no answer. I can only say that I know that her Dad would be so proud of the person that she has become and, if it were possible, he would be her guardian angel. I saw how much he loved her and how happy he was to have her in his life. I want Grace to know that that love is something that does not die.
Grace came home this weekend from attending college at SUNY New Paltz to see me (and her family) for the evening, and I made her an Apple Pie to share with her friends. Gracie, thanks for doing your best, for making us laugh and for being you. We are so grateful to be sharing in your life journey.