Today is the birthday of our second daughter, Coco. She was a glorious and beautiful person, and I believe she still is. There is not a day that passes in which I do not think of her. Being present at the moment of her birth and then of her death indelibly seared my heart. Words do not speak adequately of her life, however short, nor do they reveal her soul. But I think that is true for all of us. We can only convey approximations. We have to live if we want the real thing. Her life was the real thing, and I held her in my arms seconds after she entered the world. I was holding her in my arms when she left us. I cannot be the same ever again.
But who I want to write about today is Coco’s big sister, Lily. It may seem strange to be thinking so much about one child on the birthday of another, but Lily was there through all of this. She was there, and in her kid way she helped our little family get through it all. She thinks about her sister all the time. When she draws family pictures she always includes Coco. And her heart was broken terribly when Coco died. She is a remarkable person, so thoughtful, so beautiful, so tender.
I remember the moment Lily first saw her little sister. Her entire body reacted with utter joy. She is a lover. She is a sister through and through. And how glad she was to have a sister of her own, and to finally be a sister herself. Just yesterday Lily asked her mother to sit with her on the couch, but she kept a space between them. She said Coco was sitting there.
Lily is a beautiful girl. She is smart and she is tender. She is one of the most creative people I know. I am glad we did not keep her from experiencing the story of her little sister, however painful and brief. Lily still talks about having had the chance to hold Coco. And that means everything to me.
Now we have our hands full with another little one. Wilder looks a lot like Coco in some ways. In no way is she a replacement for Coco, but Wilder is also a wonderful and beautiful girl that helps us get through days like this one. I thank God for the girls we have. They are great gifts, all three.