I remember a lot about her impending arrival. How scandalized older relatives were at my mother's riding a bicycle during the pregnancy. Our mother's parents bringing a rocking chair for the new baby's room. I don't remember, however, the first time I ever saw her or the first time I held her. Isn't that odd? I was ten at the time and I'm the oldest, so perhaps I had become pretty good at integrating new little people into the household. But, still ...
My memories, though, became richer. In some ways she turned into my baby. I learned how to change and to feed her, when to put her down for a nap and when to recognize that she just wasn't ready to sleep. She brought my awkward self a pleasure I'd not expected. (She still does.) The addition of her made our family that much better. (She still does that, too.) Integrating her into the fabric of life in that household was easy.
To integrate: to put together parts or elements and combine them into a whole. We do it all the time, one way or another. Susannah Conway, blogger, author, photographer, wrote this about the loss of someone she loved:
Walking through the fire of bereavement is how I truly came to inhabit every part of who I am, the shadows as well as the light. I found my way back to myself through my cameras and journal and with the support of an incredible therapist. I know for a fact that we don’t just “get over” our loss, but rather we learn how to integrate their absence into our life as we bravely continue on, honouring the past while birthing a whole new existence.
With the birth of my beautiful little sister, my family integrated a new presence into its life. With the death of my husband, with Tal's death, I am integrating his absence into my life. It's helpful to me as this day comes to a close to think about my sister's arrival and the loss I have been carrying since September 17th, to think about them together.
Both entail reestablishing a sense of wholeness.
It will come.