Today I learned of the birth of my little “niece”, Brianna Kathleen. I have the niece in quotes because technically she’s not my niece. At least not by traditional familial standards.
In my heart, though, she most definitely is.
When my sister Shawna took her life in 2005, she left behind five young children (ages 12, 8, 6, 4 and 2). Her husband David was completely devoted to her and for many years tried every avenue and available known resource to help her depression heal. Priesthood blessings, in-patient treatment, 12 Step Programs, clinical therapy, medications and many other forms of therapeutic intervention. Nothing ever seemed to “take,” which is why I believe Shawna ultimately “took” her life.
It was hard when, within months of Shawna’s suicide, David married a woman named Amy. I mean, we all understood those children needed a mother and he needed stable love and companionship. To this day I know that the hand of the Lord was involved in their meeting and marrying. But it was still very difficult to see Amy in my sister’s stead.
Amy had never been married or had children of her own when she and David met. We watched her step into that home and establish order and stability with her natural peacemaker-slash-get things done personality. She was a marvel and a mystery then and remains so to me today. Shawna’s children now call Amy “Mom.”
Yesterday (four and a half years after their wedding), Amy gave birth to she and David’s first child. My little – okay, I’ll own it – NIECE.
This picture’s so sweet…such a fresh, straight-from-the-womb-into-this-world snapshot. Her dad, and my brother-in-law David, posted it on Facebook.
I like to think Shawna was one of the last to spiritually hug this little one before she came down. I’m sure in their Sacred Station she told Brianna what a special family she was inheriting.
And I’m sure it was a little bittersweet for my sister, too, because it was the inheritance she has temporarily lost.
Personally, I can’t wait to hug them both.