I remember every single detail; I was nine.
About seven months prior, my parents gathered us in the living room and made an announcement: we were going to have a sister. I crawled off the couch, put my head in my mom's lap, and cried. I'd never been happier or more filled with hope.
Would she have dark hair like me? What would her voice sound like? Is she already alive somewhere else, just waiting to be born?
Those seven months flew by, and one day my parent's called another family meeting: we wouldn't have a sister after all. There was something called an umbilical cord that fed the baby, it got a kink, and my sister starved to death.
Later that day, my parents brought me and my older sister to the front yard. We stood around a tiny red bird house my dad had built earlier that day. My mom explained that she wanted us to see my sister. She said that what we were about to see wasn’t funny or gross, that we should try and understand the sadness.
I remember having no idea what she was talking about and I turned my face up and looked at her. When I turned back, my dad had removed the lid to the bird house, and there she was, my sister. I’d never seen anything so beautiful or horrible. I hid my face in my mom’s side and tried to scream, but I couldn’t make any sound. I ran to my room and cried, and I didn’t speak for weeks.
My sister was lying on her left side, her tiny face was twisted in pain, and her mouth was open as if she were screaming. She even had a furrowed brow, or what I imagined was a furrowed brow. Her head was slightly deflated, I guess from the lack of development. Her hands looked to be about the size of a penny. But she was perfect to me. I loved her completely. I built a little cross out of scrap wood, and my family had a ceremony together in the evening. We buried her on our land, which now belongs to someone else.
I stopped praying to anyone but her. We started having conversations. I told her I missed her and knew that someday we would be together. I imagined that she lived in a vast field with tall grass. I told her what was happening at school and what it was like to turn ten. I promised her I’d never forget. I was sad she left me behind. Time passed.
My mom had another baby who turned into my redemption from deep depression and loneliness. She brought me back to an earth filled with hope simply because she existed. We spent every waking hour together, and found ways to travel the whole world: books, an old canoe we found back in the woods, stories, everything.But after all this time, I’ve still not forgotten my little sister. And I will always miss her.
Her name was Passie, because she died on Passover.