Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Aunt Rachel

My Aunt Rachel Ross would have turned 52 on June 14th. 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 three 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 and was nine when Rachel passed, so she clearly remembers that time and has shared her memories with me. She even has a diary she wrote in then. 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 grandmother attended Compassionate Friends meetings and events until the time of her death at 85-years-old. We had the indescribable bond of knowing what it's like to have a daughter in Heaven. We were always close, but Lily and Rachel brought us closer. 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.

My mom said one of the few times she saw my grandfather cry was when Rachel died. Bumma was so brave in how she'd always correct anyone when they mentioned her "six children." She had SEVEN, even if one lived in Heaven.

Each year, I remember my Aunt Rachel on her birthday. Her absence has left a hole in my family. 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.

I usually send a gift to my Bumma on Rachel's birthday. I had already started thinking about what I could get this year. It meant a lot to me to honor Rachel with Bumma. Now Bumma has been with her little girl for two months. This is the first birthday she's getting to spend with her baby! I'm so happy for them both. But it sure is weird to not be able to call Bumma on this day.

You can read more about my Aunt Rachel in a blog post I wrote by clicking HEREπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ ❤️ πŸŽ‚ 🎈

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