Life Death Love

Today my niece had her first child. I know I will sound like an old biddy, but seriously, it feels like just yesterday I was passed this bundle from my brother Leo, (his first child), with an enormous grin that seemed to overshadow all his other features. She was so tiny, calm, and what a head of hair! Because I was so close with my brother, both his daughters became like sisters to me and as they grew up, we grew together. Through my teenage years–Why, why nieces are you playing with my makeup, don’t you know those little noises are splitting my head in half? Then through my 20’s–Did I come home with my purse last night girls? Yes. Then through my pregnancy and motherhood–does it take all three of us to put Brendan’s boots on? Yes. Yes it does.

When my brother died, I stood holding his three children outside the hospital, the sharp red of blooming summer roses burning my eyes as I struggled to find my balance in a new reality I knew had changed us all forever.

Today, hearing my niece’s voice calling from the hospital, I thought how wonderful, how powerful life can be, pulling, and taking, giving, and receiving, continally demanding us to adapt, to perservere, and find new ways to live. And love.

Dear little Leona, welcome to the world. I look forward to loving you.

-Your Great Aunt

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