October is a busy month. It’s Down syndrome awareness month, Larkin’s and I were both born in October, and it holds a special day on the 15th as the National Day of Remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss.
Through the blog world, I have been introduced to many stories. People who share their path and thoughts just as I do. Cheap therapy for me to write it all out and hit publish. Priceless for the gift that I have received to know various people and journeys that I would never have prior to Little L.
The infant loss stories have hit home very hard. I have bad plumbing and so having a child was never an easy feat for me. Chase came after 3 years of infertility and L came after four IVF’s and countless other procedures. I cherish my children and I know exactly how blessed I am to have both.
I am going to hit a nerve that I buried a long time ago. It’s still raw and I leave it alone because while I am strong – there are things that I just put in a box.
My sister is my identical twin only she was born 6 years earlier and I am 5 inches taller. We laugh the same, talk the same and if there is something that strikes us, we will pick up the phone because we know that the other is the only one that will truly understand what we mean. People often ask who is older (to her delight) and she is the one person I can trust with anything. I couldn’t have said that prior to 1993.
I was flying for United Airlines and my sister was living in California. 6-year age difference may as well have been 60 years. She left while I was a punk kid and I remained that punk for a long while. Sister became pregnant while living out in Cali and while I was aware, I was busy working and living life. Until the phone rang.
I was in LA on a layover. I was less than 40 miles from sister. My mother called me in my hotel. As anyone who travels for an airline knows – when the crew desk tracks you down – it aint never good. And for it to be my mother?? The conversation started this way “sister’s baby has died” and my confusion set in. The baby was not due yet. I deciphered the story as best as my dramatic over-the-top mother could tell it.
I have to admit that working for the airline industry we are trained to go into work mode during crisis times. Training that continues to benefit every facet of my life thus far. Crisis is something I am quite adept at handling. I go quiet, calm and I think. Exactly what you want from a flight attendant if an aircraft is in trouble. Exactly what you need from your sister if you are in trouble.
I called the crew desk. They know me and they know my record. I don’t jerk them around. I made the deal with them that I would work my all night flight home from LA to ORD and they in turn would put me on the first morning flight back to Ontario CA no matter if the plane were over sold. I would get priority and they would take my next trip out of my flight schedule.
I boarded a full plane and worked to ORD. Landed at 5:15 a.m. and went through in-flight, grabbed my ticket and boarded the 7:15 a.m. to ONT. I slept a little bit on the way. I was in uniform still and that makes you a target for passengers wanting to talk. I don’t mind that so much but I was exhausted and worried.
My aunt and mother picked me up at the airport and off we went. I walked into what I can only call a war zone. My sister was heavily drugged. Family and friends were all around. It took some time for me to become comfortable with all the players but eventually I took charge for my sister.
I will write the rest of this story — and share it in part II. I never understood until this very moment why bloggers do things in parts. I need to take my time. I need to step carefully around this little box that I am opening. The nerve is very raw and needs tender care. Grief is moving through me right now.