Friday, November 6, 2009

Your Brother

We have pictures of Henry in almost every room of our house. I think the kitchen and Kathleen's room are the two exceptions and I suspect when her room is more finished there will be a picture of him in there too. We even have a picture of him on a shelf in the bathroom (I'm just now wondering if this is weird). When Brian and I change Kathleen, we often show her the picture of Henry. Lately she's started looking up at it or pointing at it.

When I turn Henry's lamps on in the evening and off in the morning, if Kathleen is in my arms, I show her his picture and we say good morning or good evening to Henry.

"That's Henry," I tell her. "That's your brother." It feels good to be showing her the picture, letting her know she has a brother, pointing him out as part of our family. But that is always swiftly followed with the pang of missing him of the silent add on to my sentence, "That's your brother who you will never know."
A brother who will never tell you to go away as you follow him wanting nothing more than to be with him.
A brother who will never get in a fight because somebody teased his little sister.
A brother who will never tease you himself.
A brother you will never play with or fight with.
A brother you can love but never know.
Before you were born, this made me sad, that you would never know your brother. I felt, suddenly, certain that you did know him, had met him even before you came to us. But I want you to know him here. I never had a brother, but I love my sisters so. I want you to have a sibling to grow up with.

All this with a picture and the simple sentence, "That's your brother."

She cannot know him as I wish she could, but she will know him. She already does.


  1. Sara, this is so beautiful. I wish Henry were there to tease his little sister and play with her and stand by her, but I love the way that you are making Henry a part of Kathleen's life.

  2. I love my sister very dearly too. I would love my daughter to have her twin sister to grow up with. Or I would love to have another sibling, sister or brother.

    I think my girls know one another though. Just like Kathleen and Henry do. I think it is lovely that Kathleen already points to her brother's photograph xo

  3. It isn't right, Sara. But I don't think you are weird. We have Hope's photo everywhere and given our situation, the photos are probably not as "gentle" as yours. I'm sure people think we are weird. But I want her brother to be able to see her, in all corners of the house. I want her to be around, when physically, she can't be and never will be.

  4. I think it is sweet you show Kathleen her brothers picture each day. She knows him in the truest, most beautiful way.