Today Poppy turns 7 years old. It will be her second birthday without Fiona. Last year she turned 6 a few weeks after Fiona died. It was a difficult birthday to celebrate. I actually don’t remember much about it, except the party she had at the gymnastics school with her friends. Poppy seemed to be in a daze as well, reeling from the sudden loss of her sister. Everything felt forced, as we are forced to continue life with part of our family missing. So many years ahead of us without Fiona. It is overwhelming to think about. Poppy has grown so much since Fiona died. She has changed too. She is not so happy go lucky; she is more cautious, anxious, and stubborn about things for no apparent reason.
Fiona was such a cheerleader for Poppy, and a loving and proud big sister. Fiona did get pretty annoyed with Poppy at times, as Fiona was quiet and methodical, while Poppy jumps from one thing to the next. Having a little sister was very good for Fiona, and boosted her self esteem and sense of place in the family. They seemed to be always giving each other hugs. Their love for each other ran deep, despite the little fights and arguments kids have.
I had a dream last night about my girls. Poppy was flying a hot air balloon type of contraption over a park, while crowds of people watched below. She lost control of her balloon and crash landed in the park, barely missing the trees and houses. We ran over to check on her and she was fine, just mad that she crashed. Then Fiona was there, and she was checking on Poppy, encouraging her. She gave her a hug, of course. That’s what Fiona would have done in real life. She was very loving and sweet, especially when someone was upset. Fiona had on a sundress, and she stood with the other kids while Poppy looked over her crashed aircraft. It seemed natural that she should be there, as Poppy’s sister. Then in my dream I remembered Fiona was dead, and it was not normal for her to be there. Realizing my luck at seeing her, I put my arm around her and sat beside her. I asked her how she was, and she said great. I asked her how she liked heaven, and she said it was great. It felt a bit like when you ask your kids how their day at school was, and you get a one word answer. I said, “Is it perfect? Because I know how you always liked things to be perfect.” Fiona said “perfect” a lot; I think she learned it from the mean dance instructor in the movie Barbie and the Pink Shoes. Fiona smiled at my joke, and said yes in her quiet, sweet way. Then my dream was over.
If only Fiona could be here today to wish Poppy happy birthday and watch her open her presents. To be the big sister to Poppy on her special day. To share with us her sweet smiles and funny jokes. To be a part of our family again.