This isn't gonna get deep because I'm just too tired.
Today, I'm still mourning. Mourning the loss of my sister's firstborn girl. Mourning the loss of my niece. Of Sean and Katie and Emily's big sister.
Eleven years ago today, Laina Michelle was born too soon. The cause of my sister's preterm labor was later determined to be an undiagnosed, untreated infection.
That's hard to take.
And you know what's the hardest about this day? That all I have of my firstborn neice is a hospital photo and a sprig of baby's breath from the flowers that were placed on her tiny grave.
I never saw her. I never held her.
We never had the chance to have memories with Laina. Never when I first laid eyes on her or watched her eat mashed potatoes at the family Thanksgiving table for the first time or had her sit on my lap and read to me a new book that she got as a gift.
So I make her up.
I imagine that the tiny patch of red hair that was present at birth is now long and beautiful and flowing. Her mom keeps it under control by putting it in two braids.
And like her sister Katie after her, she'd have shown me that she could write her name and tie her shoes and ride a bike.
By now, she'd probably be excited about being almost as tall as I am. All my neices and nephews before her have bragged about it at some point.
I'd gladly give her that.