Seven years ago yesterday, my sister-in-law Wendy went missing while on vacation with her husband in La Paz, Mexico. Erin and I were a lot less connected than we are today, and as we were in Ottawa attending a family reunion, we didn’t end up hearing the news until seven years ago today when her drowned body was found. Since then, there has been a lot of rebuilding to do. This day and yesterday remain difficult ones for Erin.
But Erin was pregnant with Vivian at the time and, Nora followed in due course. Once the kids were old enough to understand, she organized “Sisters Day”, to encourage Vivian and Nora to celebrate sisterhood, and to turn this anniversary into something that had nice memories to balance the pain. So far, it’s worked.
The kids are getting old enough to ask questions, and we’ve resolved to answer them honestly. They’ve asked about their aunt Wendy, and about what happened, and we’ve given them the basic details without elaborating too much. And it’s interesting looking at their faces as they process these answers. It’s a deep and powerful thing, grief. They know it. And they know they’re not ready to process it and hopefully they won’t have to for some time. Or ever, in relation to each other.
And then they move on to the cake.