Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy Birthday, Aunt Rachel

My Aunt Rachel Ross would be turning 51 today. She was born on June 14, 1965. June 14th is Flag Day and Rachel was given the middle name Ross partly after Betsy Ross, who sewed the American flag.

Sadly, Rachel only lived for 3 months outside of the womb. She died on the operating table at UVA on September 10, 1965 as her doctor attempted to save her tiny, deformed heart.

Rachel was the seventh child of my grandparents, James Kirk and Nancy Virginia Bain. My mom is the eldest of the seven. This is the only family picture of all nine of them (baby Rachel in my grandmother's arms and my mom is in the back with the glasses). They are standing in front of Holy Comforter Catholic Church in our home area of Charlottesville, Virginia on the day of Rachel's Christening.


My mom was 9 when Rachel died, so she clearly remembers that time and has shared her memories with me. She even has a diary she wrote in then. 

My grandmother still grieves and attends Compassionate Friends meetings and events. We now have the bond of knowing what it's like to have a daughter in Heaven. We were always close, but Lily and Rachel have brought us closer. 

My mom said one of the few times she saw my grandfather cry was when Rachel died. Her absence has left a hole in my family. Each year, we remember her on her birthday. We will always miss her and wonder who she would have become and what other cousins I might have had. I'll always love her and hope future generations will speak of and remember Lily the way I do Rachel. Even when I was a young teen, before I ever knew I'd lose my own child, I would go to CF meetings with my Bumma. I see now how God was preparing me for a future only He could see.

You can read more about my Aunt Rachel in a blog post I wrote by clicking HERE.

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