About a month before my wedding, my mother handed me an envelope. In it was a hundred dollar bill that she had tucked inside that envelope twenty years ago. And she told me it was from my sister. My mother put that money away for me after my sister passed away, because she was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to have her at my wedding as my maid of honor. That’s when it hit me, I did have a sister. And for the first time in my life, I thought about all the moments I didn’t have with her. I was never able to help my mommy change her diapers. I didn’t get to be her big sister and protector in school. There were no late nights up discussing boys. And she couldn’t be the maid of honor at my wedding.
I took the hundred dollar bill to a jewelry store and bought a beautiful necklace. Then I went to my parents’ house to show my mother, who handled it with tears in her eyes. And when I put it around my neck on my wedding day, for the first time in my life, I felt the presence of my sister. She wasn’t my maid of honor, but she was there with me on my wedding day.
Now when people ask how many siblings I have, I still say one little brother, but I think of my little sister too.